verb (used without object)

to pretend illness, especially in order to shirk one's duty, avoid work, etc.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for malingerer

loafer, shirker, idler, dodger, goof-off

Examples from the Web for malingerer

Historical Examples of malingerer

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

  • 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



(intr) to pretend or exaggerate illness, esp to avoid work
Derived Formsmalingerer, noun

Word Origin for malinger

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

malingerer in Medicine




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