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[mal-fuhngk-shuh n] /mælˈfʌŋk ʃən/
failure to function properly:
a malfunction of the liver; the malfunction of a rocket.
verb (used without object)
to fail to function properly.
Origin of malfunction
1925-30; mal- + function Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for malfunction
  • The investigators acknowledge that they have no evidence pointing to a mechanical malfunction.
  • Officials say the explosion was caused by an electrical malfunction.
  • En route to the hangar, the shuttle's crawler-transporter had suffered a malfunction.
  • The sun may have cooked the batteries, causing them to malfunction.
  • Putting the earbuds up against a pacemaker or implanted defibrillator can cause it to malfunction.
  • The fire on board could have been either the result of a bomb or of some kind of engine malfunction.
  • Poor conductive water can make the whole body malfunction.
  • The company released a photograph of the stubby cylindrical rocket in flight before the malfunction.
  • The authors suggest that a malfunction of this gene in the placenta could be responsible for the disease.
  • However, for those who set a one-time alarm for this morning, some may have experienced the malfunction.
British Dictionary definitions for malfunction


(intransitive) to function imperfectly or irregularly or fail to function
failure to function or defective functioning
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 malfunction

1827, from mal- "bad, badly, wrong" + function. As a verb, by 1888. Related: Malfunctioned; malfunctioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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malfunction in Medicine

malfunction mal·func·tion (māl-fŭngk'shən)
v. mal·func·tioned, mal·func·tion·ing, mal·func·tions

  1. To fail to function.

  2. To function improperly.

  1. Failure to function.

  2. Faulty or abnormal functioning.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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