Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One who has committed a crime; a criminal.
  • noun A wrongdoer or evildoer.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who does evil or injury to another: opposed to benefactor.
  • noun A heinous evil-doer; a law-breaker; a criminal or felon.
  • noun Synonyms Evil-doer, culprit, felon, convict.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An evil doer; one who commits a crime; one subject to public prosecution and punishment; a criminal.
  • noun One who does wrong by injuring another, although not a criminal. Opposite of benefactor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A criminal or felon.
  • noun An evildoer.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun someone who has committed a crime or has been legally convicted of a crime

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English malefactour, from Latin malefactor, from malefacere, to do wrong : male, ill; see mel- in Indo-European roots + facere, to do; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin male ("ill") + facere ("to do").

Examples

  • Dead in law, as a condemned malefactor is called a dead man because he is under a sentence of death; so sinners by the guilt of sin are under the sentence of the law and condemned already, John iii.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume VI (Acts to Revelation)

  • Sinners are dead in state, being destitute of the principles, and powers of spiritual life; and cut off from God, the fountain of life: and they are dead in law, as a condemned malefactor is said to be a dead man.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume VI (Acts to Revelation)

  • Now the business of a judge with a malefactor is to convict him of his crimes, and then to pass sentence upon him for them.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi)

  • That she shall be exposed to shame: Thy lewdness and thy whoredoms shall be discovered (v. 29), as, when a malefactor is punished, all his crimes are ripped up, and repeated to his disgrace; what was secret then comes to light, and what was done long since is then called to mind.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi)

  • When people clamor for justice in Israel but ignore massacres in Syria, Libya, starvation in North Korea, on and on -- are they interested in criticizing only if the malefactor is a Jew?

    Rabbi David Wolpe: Is It Anti-Semitism?

  • When people clamor for justice in Israel but ignore massacres in Syria, Libya, starvation in North Korea, on and on -- are they interested in criticizing only if the malefactor is a Jew?

    Rabbi David Wolpe: Is It Anti-Semitism?

  • When people clamor for justice in Israel but ignore massacres in Syria, Libya, starvation in North Korea, on and on -- are they interested in criticizing only if the malefactor is a Jew?

    Rabbi David Wolpe: Is It Anti-Semitism?

  • When people clamor for justice in Israel but ignore massacres in Syria, Libya, starvation in North Korea, on and on -- are they interested in criticizing only if the malefactor is a Jew?

    Rabbi David Wolpe: Is It Anti-Semitism?

  • He saw himself as the shepherd dog does; until he had rounded him up the malefactor was his private responsibility, to be protected as well as cornered.

    The Tiger in the Smoke

  • In this instance the malefactor was a woman, not a man, and her name was Grizel Cochrane, member of (or at least sprung from) a noble family, which later produced one of the most famous seamen in the annals of naval history.

    Stories of the Border Marches

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • "Anonymous malefactors made death threats and hurled a brick through the kitchen window."

    The New York Times, The Trolls Among Us, by Mattathias Schwartz, August 3, 2008

    August 1, 2008

  • Oh dear, from his vantage point at the Times, John is drifting farther and farther into the future.

    August 2, 2008

  • All hail the slack bastard!! *bows*

    August 2, 2008

  • Maybe he'll spring back over the weekend.

    August 2, 2008

  • August 3, 2008???

    August 2, 2008

  • Dontcry, see the discussion at metonic calendar.

    August 2, 2008

  • Ohhhhh. Nevermind.

    August 2, 2008

  • Neither testosterone, nor the Y chromosome, though both may have some relation to the person this word describes.

    June 17, 2010