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[mal-uh-fak-ter] /ˈmæl əˌfæk tər/
a person who violates the law; criminal.
a person who does harm or evil, especially toward another.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English malefactour < Latin malefactor, equivalent to malefac(ere) to act wickedly, do an evil deed (see male-, fact) + -tor -tor
1. felon, culprit.
2. benefactor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for malefactor
  • Taken in connection with the story of the malefactor who died yesterday, this narrative has a melancholy interest.
  • Jack loves his violent ways too much to consider any other route to heaven than that of the malefactor on the cross.
  • The birds learned to identify an aggressive researcher and ignore the others-and eventually they dive-bombed the malefactor.
  • The malefactor failed to pay the amounts charged to those accounts and thus the accounts became delinquent.
  • As they cannot have personal access te that malefactor, they undertake te evangelize him by means of postal caids.
British Dictionary definitions for malefactor


a criminal; wrongdoer
Derived Forms
malefaction, noun
malefactress, noun:feminine
Word Origin
C15: via Old French from Latin, from malefacere to do evil
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
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Word Origin and History for malefactor

mid-15c., from Latin malefactor, agent noun from past participle stem of malefacere "to do evil," from male "badly" (see mal-) + facere "to perform" (see factitious).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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