noun mal·ver·sa·tion \ˌmal-vər-ˈsā-shən\

Definition of malversation

  1. 1 :  misbehavior and especially corruption in an office, trust, or commission

  2. 2 :  corrupt administration

malversation was our Word of the Day on 02/02/2014. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

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").

Origin and Etymology of malversation

Medieval 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

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