• synonyms


See more synonyms for malinger on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to pretend illness, especially in order to shirk one's duty, avoid work, etc.
Show More

Origin of malinger

1810–20; < French malingre sickly, ailing, equivalent to mal- mal- + Old French heingre haggard (perhaps < Gmc)
Related formsma·lin·ger·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for malingerer

Historical Examples

  • He told me that I was a malingerer and that I should not see the doctor.

    Glimpses into the Abyss

    Mary Higgs

  • But when it came to facing the physical hardships of the North he was a malingerer.

    The Yukon Trail

    William MacLeod Raine

  • Anybody who was not a malingerer was voted a fool, an altruist.

  • As it was not in Peter to be a malingerer he was left in peace, while we picked apples.

    The Story Girl

    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  • Thoroughly squelched, the malingerer flushed, mumbled an apology and held out his hand.

    The Long Chance

    Peter B. Kyne

British Dictionary definitions for malingerer


  1. (intr) to pretend or exaggerate illness, esp to avoid work
Show More
Derived Formsmalingerer, noun

Word Origin

C19: from French malingre sickly, perhaps from mal badly + Old French haingre feeble
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

Word Origin and History for malingerer



1820, from French malingrer "to suffer," perhaps also "pretend to be ill," from malingre "ailing, sickly" (13c.), of uncertain origin, possibly a blend of mingre "sickly, miserable" and malade "ill." Mingre is itself a blend of maigre "meager" + haingre "sick, haggard," possibly from Germanic (cf. Middle High German hager "thin"). The sense evolution may be through notion of beggars with sham sores. Related: Malingered; malingering; malingerer (1785).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

malingerer in Medicine


  1. To feign illness or other incapacity in order to avoid duty or work.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.