malfunction

verb
mal·​func·​tion | \ ˌmal-ˈfəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce malfunction (audio) \
malfunctioned; malfunctioning; malfunctions

Definition of malfunction

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to function imperfectly or badly : fail to operate normally

malfunction

noun
plural malfunctions

Definition of malfunction (Entry 2 of 2)

: a failure to operate or function in the normal or correct manner : the action or an instance of malfunctioning a hardware/equipment malfunction Once thought to be a disease itself dropsy is now known to be a sign of several kinds of body malfunction, especially congestive heart failure and kidney disease.— C. Clairborne Ray In schizophrenia this filtering system malfunctions or short-circuits. This malfunction causes people to misevaluate what they see, hear, and experience in their environment.— Richard Crino

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Did You Know?

A malfunctioning switch might keep us from turning on a light. A malfunctioning heart valve might require replacement with an artificial valve, and if your immune system malfunctions it may start to attack healthy cells. And a malfunction in a voting machine could result in hundreds of votes being miscounted.

Examples of malfunction in a Sentence

Verb

A software problem is causing the system to malfunction.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Maria Elena Vizcaino María Méndez, Dallas News, "Want a poppin’ Fourth of July? Here’s what to keep in mind," 3 July 2019 Yet medical researchers have not been able to create treatments to eliminate or regulate malfunctioning IDPs. Elizabeth O'day, Scientific American, "A Special Class of Proteins Offers Promising Targets for Drugs for Cancer and Alzheimer's," 1 July 2019 Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Fireworks recalled days before Fourth of July holiday. Here's how to stay safe," 27 June 2019 During the Gemini 8 mission in 1966, a malfunctioning thruster put the spacecraft into a terrifying spin, but Armstrong, on the verge of passing out, managed to get it under control before making an emergency splashdown in the Pacific. Anchorage Daily News, "How did NASA put men on the moon? One harrowing step at a time.," 23 June 2019 Bacteria concentrations in recreational waters can increase during and immediately after rainstorms due to overflowing sewage collection, stormwater runoff, malfunctioning septic systems, and agricultural runoff. al.com, "Health advisory issued for swimming near Fairhope public beach," 21 June 2019 During the Gemini 8 mission in 1966, a malfunctioning thruster put the spacecraft into a terrifying spin, but Armstrong, on the verge of passing out, managed to get it under control before making an emergency splashdown in the Pacific. Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, "How did NASA put men on the moon? One harrowing step at a time.," 19 June 2019 After all, a malfunctioning A/C unit is both physically and financially brutal. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "The Costly Air Conditioner Mistakes You’re Probably Making," 11 June 2019 This was in large part to their malfunctioning back-line, with Sergio Ramos having injury problems, Raphaël Varane suffering a loss of form and Nacho proving to be an inadequate back-up. SI.com, "Kalidou Koulibaly: The Contenders to Sign Him & Where He Might End Up," 7 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'malfunction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of malfunction

Verb

1941, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1892, in the meaning defined above

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Learn More about malfunction

Dictionary Entries near malfunction

malform

malformation

malformed

malfunction

Malgache

malgré

malgré lui

Statistics for malfunction

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for malfunction

The first known use of malfunction was in 1892

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More Definitions for malfunction

malfunction

verb

English Language Learners Definition of malfunction

: to fail to function or work properly

malfunction

intransitive verb
mal·​func·​tion | \ (ˈ)mal-ˈfəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce malfunction (audio) \

Medical Definition of malfunction

: to function imperfectly or badly : fail to operate in the normal or usual manner malfunctioning kidneys

Other Words from malfunction

malfunction noun

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Comments on malfunction

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