Word of the Day Archive
Tuesday November 14, 2000
malcontent \mal-kuhn-TENT; MAL-kuhn-tent\ , noun:
1. One who is discontented or dissatisfied.
2. A discontented subject of a government; one who opposes an established order.
1. Discontented; uneasy; dissatisfied.
Her antagonism inspired him, pushed him into ever more extreme positions, and by the time he was ready to leave the house, and go off to college, he had indelibly cast himself in his chosen role: as malcontent, as rebel, as outlaw poet prowling the gutters of a ruined world.
-- Paul Auster, Timbuktu
Willy, who grew up in Brooklyn, the son of Holocaust survivors, was a malcontent in college, a rebel with "a noisy, fractious disdain for Everything-That-Was."
-- Michiko Kakutani, "My Life as a Dog", New York Times, June 25, 1999
How would you like to be locked in a room for a couple of days with an irritable, depressed malcontent who also happens to be imperiously smart, bored and more than a little spoiled?
-- Robert Nathan, "Irritable, Depressed, Spoiled and Terrific", New York Times, September 26, 1993
Malcontent is from the Old French term combining mal, "bad, ill" (from Latin malus) and content, "contained," from Latin contentus, past participle of continere, "to hold together, to contain," from con-, "with, together" + tenere, "to hold."