mal·​ver·​sa·​tion ˌmal-vər-ˈsā-shən How to pronounce malversation (audio)
: misbehavior and especially corruption in an office, trust, or commission
: corrupt administration

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The form mal- is often a bad sign in a word, and malversation is no exception. In Middle French, mal- (meaning "bad," from the Latin word for "bad," malus) teamed up with verser ("to turn, handle," from the Latin verb vertere, "to turn ") to create malverser, a verb meaning "to be corrupt." This in turn led to the French noun malversation, which was adopted by English speakers in the mid-16th century. Some other mal- words that entered English from Middle French are maladroit ("inept"), malcontent ("discontented"), and maltreat ("to treat badly").

Examples of malversation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With the Philippines’ ranking 117th among 180 countries in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index, the public has good reason to fear potential malversation to do with the MIF. Time, 16 Dec. 2022

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

Word History


Middle French, from malverser to be corrupt, from mal + verser to turn, handle, from Latin versare, frequentative of vertere to turn — more at worth

First Known Use

1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of malversation was in 1549


Dictionary Entries Near malversation

Cite this Entry

“Malversation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

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