A Word A Day : Malinger

Monday, 5th May 2008 : Today's Word is ...


( Verb )

Past and past participle : malingered
Present participle : malingering
3rd person present singular : malingers)

Pronunciation : ma-líng-ger


1. To feign illness or other incapacity in order to avoid duty or work

2. To avoid responsibilities and duties, e.g., by pretending to be ill

In the context of medicine, malingering is the act of intentionally feigning or exaggerating physical or psychological symptoms for personal gain.


Late 18th century - French malingre - sickly


shirk, skive, bunk off, take a sickie, play hooky, be awol, duck, sidestep, shun


be honest

Contextual Examples:

• My speciality is subjecting the data I obtain to successive mathematical corrective formulas to filter the truly psychotic from those who are malingering.

• 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.

• 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.

Related Words:

malingerer : Noun

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