Definitions

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

  • adj. Contemplated or arranged in advance; premeditated: malice prepense.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Devised, contrived, or planned beforehand; preconceived, premeditated.
  • v. To weigh or consider beforehand; to consider.
  • v. To deliberate beforehand.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To weigh or consider beforehand; to premeditate.
  • intransitive v. To deliberate beforehand.
  • adj. Devised, contrived, or planned beforehand; preconceived; premeditated; aforethought; -- usually placed after the word it qualifies.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To consider beforehand; think upon in advance.
  • To plan or devise beforehand; contrive previously.
  • To reflect or meditate beforehand.
  • Considered and planned beforehand; premeditated; purposed; intentional: generally in the phrase malice prepense (formerly also prepensed malice).

Etymologies

From Middle English, past participle of purpensen, to premeditate, from Anglo-Norman purpenser : pur-, before (from Latin pro-; see pro-1) + penser, to think (from Latin pēnsāre; see (s)pen- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Back-formation from prepensed, probably from Anglo-Norman prepenser. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • “My charity I own cannot invent an excuse for the prepense malice with which the character and service of this gentleman are murdered,” Madison wrote of Morris in June.

    Robert Morris

  • For you will remember that it is only four or five days since his advocates of malice prepense attacked me with slanderous accusations, and began to charge me with practice of the black art and with the murder of my step-son Pontianus.

    The Defense

  • He would show, as Ibsen shows, and with an equal lack of malice prepense, various detestable features which the mask of good manners had concealed.

    Henrik Ibsen

  • The Princess became somewhat alarmed; she was besides extremely good-natured, nor had her intentions of leading the old man into what would render him ridiculous, been so accurately planned with malice prepense, as they were the effect of accident and chance.

    Count Robert of Paris

  • I did by accident not of malice prepense; and quoth he,

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • THAT the author of the said work applied himself to his task in malice prepense and with wickedness aforethought; a fact which, your Dedicator contends, is sufficiently demonstrated, by his assuming the name of Quiz, which, your Dedicator submits, denotes a foregone conclusion, and implies an intention of quizzing.

    Sketches by Boz

  • This same looping up was not without good reason and purpose prepense; thereby all the world had full view of a beautiful little ear, which looked as if it had been cut of cameo, and made, as my Lady Rich once told him,

    Westward Ho!

  • Boots had done it, — no doubt without malice prepense; but he had done it; and now that the Greenes were once more known as moneyed people, he turned upon me, and told me to my face, that I had desired that box to be taken to my own room as part of my own luggage!

    Tales of all countries

  • You think you have screened yourself from a prosecution by sending all your servants out of the way; but that circumstance will appear upon trial to be a plain proof of the malice prepense with which the fact was committed; especially when corroborated by the evidence of this here letter, under your own hand, whereby I am desired to come to your own house to transact an affair of consequence.

    The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle

  • ‘Not a soul,’ he continued — not of falsehood prepense, for he was not in fact thinking of what he was saying.

    Framley Parsonage

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