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[muh-ling-ger] /məˈlɪŋ gər/
verb (used without object)
to pretend illness, especially in order to shirk one's duty, avoid work, etc.
Origin of malinger
1810-20; < French malingre sickly, ailing, equivalent to mal- mal- + Old French heingre haggard (perhaps < Gmc)
Related forms
malingerer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for malingerer
  • He was no longer accused of being noncompliant or a malingerer.
  • Once the drug takes hold, they say, an insurmountable urge to pour out speech traps the malingerer.
  • Photographs taken by private investigators convinced managers that she was malingerer and was dishonest about her injuries.
  • He believed strongly that if appellant could work, she would, and that she was not a malingerer.
  • The next guy comes along and says he is a malingerer.
British Dictionary definitions for malingerer


(intransitive) to pretend or exaggerate illness, esp to avoid work
Derived Forms
malingerer, noun
Word Origin
C19: from French malingre sickly, perhaps from mal badly + Old French haingre feeble
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for malingerer



1820, from French malingrer "to suffer," perhaps also "pretend to be ill," from malingre "ailing, sickly" (13c.), of uncertain origin, possibly a blend of mingre "sickly, miserable" and malade "ill." Mingre is itself a blend of maigre "meager" + haingre "sick, haggard," possibly from Germanic (cf. Middle High German hager "thin"). The sense evolution may be through notion of beggars with sham sores. Related: Malingered; malingering; malingerer (1785).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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malingerer in Medicine

malinger ma·lin·ger (mə-lĭng'gər)
v. ma·lin·gered, ma·lin·ger·ing, ma·lin·gers
To feign illness or other incapacity in order to avoid duty or work.

ma·lin'ger·er n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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