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[mal-fuhngk-shuh n] /mælˈfʌŋk ʃən/
failure to function properly:
a malfunction of the liver; the malfunction of a rocket.
verb (used without object)
to fail to function properly.
Origin of malfunction
First recorded in 1925-30; mal- + function Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for malfunction
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was some malfunction, but—we like to say that he simply gave up.

    That Sweet Little Old Lady Gordon Randall Garrett (AKA Mark Phillips)
  • The malfunction was definitely in the auxiliary motor setup, he thought.

    Tight Squeeze Dean Charles Ing
  • Naturally—it would have to follow its own solution, if there was no indication of malfunction.

    Way of a Rebel Walter M. Miller
  • If it's just a malfunction in one of the units, I can dump another one down there.

    The Thirst Quenchers Rick Raphael
  • Such conditions might cause the ignition system of a gasoline engine to malfunction.

  • It sounds as though he was a willing worker, but I still can't see why his malfunction makes our marriage impossible.

    Droozle Frank Banta
  • But this one has to have a clip in order not to malfunction?

    Warren Commission (3 of 26): Hearings Vol. III (of 15) The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
British Dictionary definitions for malfunction


(intransitive) to function imperfectly or irregularly or fail to function
failure to function or defective functioning
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for malfunction

1827, from mal- "bad, badly, wrong" + function. As a verb, by 1888. Related: Malfunctioned; malfunctioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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malfunction in Medicine

malfunction mal·func·tion (māl-fŭngk'shən)
v. mal·func·tioned, mal·func·tion·ing, mal·func·tions

  1. To fail to function.

  2. To function improperly.

  1. Failure to function.

  2. Faulty or abnormal functioning.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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