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 The Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) module could malfunction and short circuit. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for March 11-18," 20 Mar. 2021 The Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) module could malfunction and short circuit. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for March 11-18," 20 Mar. 2021 The Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) module could malfunction and short circuit. USA TODAY, "Car recalls for March 11-18," 18 Mar. 2021 Last June, the agency opened an investigation into complaints that the screens would malfunction. Tom Krisher, Star Tribune, "Tesla to fix touch screens, ending spat with US regulators," 2 Feb. 2021 Last June, the agency opened an investigation into complaints that the screens would malfunction. Tom Krisher, ajc, "Tesla to fix touch screens, ending spat with US regulators," 2 Feb. 2021 The rear view camera could malfunction during an ignition cycle, leading to a black screen or infotainment system freeze. USA TODAY, "Car recalls for December 3-10," 11 Dec. 2020 The rear view camera could malfunction during an ignition cycle, leading to a black screen or infotainment system freeze. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for Dec. 3-10: More than 400K vehicles from Kia, Hyundai recalled," 11 Dec. 2020 What might work one week, one month or one season could malfunction the next. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, Patriots' Cam Newton show the promise — and peril — of dual-threat QBs," 13 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for malfunction

Time Traveler

The first known use of malfunction was in 1892

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Statistics for malfunction

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Malfunction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/malfunction. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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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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