a combining form meaning “bad,” “wrongful,” “ill,” occurring originally in loanwords from French (malapert); on this model, used in the formation of other words (malfunction; malcontent).
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Origin of mal-
Middle English < Old French, representing mal adv. (< Latin male badly, ill) and adj. (< Latin malus bad)
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British Dictionary definitions for mal-
bad or badly; wrong or wrongly; imperfect or defectivemaladjusted; malfunction
Word Origin for mal-
Old French, from Latin malus bad, male badly
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
Medicine definitions for mal-
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.