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

  • n. Malicious computer software that interferes with normal computer functions or sends personal data about the user to unauthorized parties over the Internet.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Software which has been designed to operate in a malicious, undesirable manner.


mal(icious) + -ware.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Blend of malicious and software (Wiktionary)



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  • A rare case where contemporary coinage corresponds with traditional morphemes: mal- ("evil, bad") + -ware ("articles for sale, commodities").

    May 22, 2009

  • "Short for malicious software, software designed specifically to damage or disrupt a system, such as a virus or a Trojan horse." --Webopedia

    May 22, 2009