Word of the Day : February 2, 2014


noun mal-ver-SAY-shun


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

2 : corrupt administration

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").


The city council impeached the mayor for administrative misconduct and malversation, charging that he has used his office primarily for personal gain.

"The Office of the Ombudsman is still evaluating the plunder cases filed three months ago by the Department of Justice…. Included in the first batch of cases were 34 respondents, while at least 10 more legislators were charged, this time with malversation, early last month." - From an article by Christian V. Esguerra in the Philippines Daily Inquirer, December 30, 2013

Word Family Quiz

What descendant of "vertere" means "to turn away" or "to ward off"? The answer is …


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