Word of the Day

Thursday, September 21, 2000


\muh-LING-ger\ , verb;
to pretend illness, especially in order to shirk one's duty, avoid work, etc.
Because he twice slapped battle-stressed soldiers in Sicily who, he thought, were merely malingering, he was denied a major command in the Normandy landings.
-- Bernard Knox, "Scorched Earth," The New York Times, 1999
It is impossible to determine exactly what inspired Mary's various symptoms, but her own and other family members' letters suggest that her suffering may have been a combination of hypochondria, conscious histrionics and malingering, and unconscious rebellion against her father.
-- Caroline Fraser, God's Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church, 1999
Malinger derives from French malingre, "sickly," perhaps from Old French mal, "badly" + heingre, "lean, thin."
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