malinger

verb

ma·​lin·​ger mə-ˈliŋ-gər How to pronounce malinger (audio)
malingered; malingering mə-ˈliŋ-g(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce malinger (audio)

intransitive verb

: to pretend or exaggerate incapacity or illness (as to avoid duty or work)
His boss suspected him of malingering because of his frequent absences from work.
malingerer noun

Did you know?

Do you know someone who always seems to develop an ailment when there's work to be done? Someone who merits an Academy Award for his or her superb simulation of symptoms? Then you know a malingerer. The verb malinger comes from the French word malingre, meaning "sickly," and one who malingers feigns illness. In its earliest uses in the early 19th century, malinger usually referred to a soldier or sailor pretending to be sick or insane to shirk duty. Later, psychologists began using malingering as a clinical term to describe the feigning of illness in avoidance of a duty or for personal gain. Today, malinger is used in just about any context in which someone fakes sickness or injury to get out of an undesirable task.

Examples of malinger in a Sentence

His boss suspected him of malingering because of his frequent absences from work.
Recent Examples on the Web The entire day felt dehumanizing, as if her nearly eight years with the company, her medical problems and her physical pain had been reduced to nothing more than malingering and scattered incidents of tardiness. Greg Jaffe, Anchorage Daily News, 18 June 2023 Goldstein, who did not return a message seeking comment, practices in Chicago and has lectured on the topic of malingering, according to a resume posted online. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2023 But when workers take advantage of the manager’s kindly nature to malinger or disrupt operations, the entire business is threatened. Bill Conerly, Forbes, 19 Jan. 2022 The decision against Robert Krebs came after a psychologist determined Krebs didn’t have a mental illness or cognitive impairment and was instead malingering to avoid prosecution for the robbery last year in Tucson. Jacques Billeaud, BostonGlobe.com, 24 June 2019 On Monday, prosecutor Stuart Silberg said Ms. Ortega could have been malingering, or faking her psychiatric state. Corinne Ramey, WSJ, 31 July 2017 The question is obviously especially consequential when deeming a person malingering means they could be put to death. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, 5 May 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'malinger.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

French malingre sickly

First Known Use

1820, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of malinger was in 1820

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Dictionary Entries Near malinger

Cite this Entry

“Malinger.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/malinger. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

malinger

verb
ma·​lin·​ger mə-ˈliŋ-gər How to pronounce malinger (audio)
malingered; malingering -g(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce malinger (audio)
: to pretend to be sick or injured so as to avoid duty or work
malingerer noun

Medical Definition

malinger

intransitive verb
ma·​lin·​ger mə-ˈliŋ-gər How to pronounce malinger (audio)
malingered; malingering -g(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce malinger (audio)
: to pretend or exaggerate incapacity or illness (as to avoid duty or work)

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