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 malingering

dodge, shirk, fake, loaf, sham

Examples from the Web for malingering

Contemporary Examples of malingering

Historical Examples of malingering

  • It was the first and last time I ever made an attempt at malingering.

    Marmaduke Merry

    William H. G. Kingston

  • There is no excuse for malingering or cowardice during battle.

    The Armed Forces Officer

    U. S. Department of Defense

  • A man can rise from grade to grade, or sink if "malingering."

  • There were some who could not be persuaded to stay if they could see any chance of deserting or malingering.

    Now It Can Be Told

    Philip Gibbs

  • The simulation and malingering practiced by the fox is common knowledge.

British Dictionary definitions for malingering



(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 malingering



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

malingering 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.