Definitions

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

  • n. Misconduct or wrongdoing, especially by a public official.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. wrongdoing
  • n. Misconduct or wrongdoing, especially by a public official that causes damage.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The doing of an act which a person ought not to do; evil conduct; an illegal deed.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Evil-doing; the doing of that which ought not to be done; wrongful conduct, especially official misconduct; violation of a public trust or obligation; specifically, the doing of an act which is positively unlawful or wrongful, in contradistinction to misfeasance, or the doing of a lawful act in a wrongful manner. The term is often inappropriately used instead of misfeasance.

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

  • n. wrongful conduct by a public official

Etymologies

Anglo-Norman malfaisance, from Old French malfaisant, malfeasant, present participle of malfaire, to do evil, from Latin malefacere; see malefactor.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French malfaisance, derived from malfaire, maufaire (“do evil”), from Latin malefaciō ("I do evil"), from male ("evilly") + faciō ("do, make"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Such a great word, in meaning and sound.

    February 8, 2009

  • "Hats off to the Illinois governor for shooting so high above and beyond the normal arc of political malfeasance that he's probably annoyed NASA by interfering with satellite traffic. After years of highlighting nuances and scrutinizing minute distinctions, it's downright thrilling to finally find someone acting crookeder than a dump truck full of dissembled wire hangers. Excuse me. I mean, finally finding someone GETTING CAUGHT acting crookeder than a dump truck full of dissembled wire hangers. It's not every day the FBI arrests a sitting governor at his house at six in the morning: We're talking movie of the week here. I see Casey Affleck in a bad wig. With Aaron Eckhart as Patrick Fitzgerald."
    - Will Durst, 'Giving Governors a Bad Name', caglepost.com, 14 Dec 2008.

    December 15, 2008