Definition of malinger in English:



  • Pretend to be ill in order to escape duty or work.

    ‘people who had psychosomatic complaints were probably malingering’
    • ‘And if it is, what about the terrific temptation we create for malingering?’
    • ‘I can think of several options other than lying and malingering to explain the onset of hysterical symptoms and recovered memories.’
    • ‘Inasmuch as results are not intuitive, inconsistency from an individual's attempts to malinger can be detected easily.’
    • ‘Another woman, with early symptoms of Bubonic plague, was told she was malingering.’
    • ‘We've seen senior members of parliament here tell people with depression they're malingering, ‘get over it, get back to work’.’
    • ‘Someone who malingers will fake an illness for some type of external gain, such as money.’
    • ‘Earlier this year a poll found that 40% of small businesses thought employees were malingering when they took sick leave.’
    • ‘There's a fine line between what's classed as malingering and what is accepted as genuine illness.’
    • ‘A distinction should be made between factitious disorders and malingering.’
    • ‘And we all have some creative, malingering patients worthy of an Academy Award.’
    • ‘Many people associate mental illness with self indulgence, weakness, and malingering.’
    • ‘Initially, we were dejected and nearly ‘bought’ his hard luck story; but a little questioning gave away his sheer malingering.’
    • ‘Companies indicated that, in their opinion, a whopping 75% of time taken was due to feigned illness or malingering.’
    • ‘Why are they malingering and eating up valuable Medicare tax dollars when they could so easily put us all out of their misery?’
    • ‘But in the case of mental illness, people are inclined to shut their minds to it, or, even worse, accuse the sufferer of malingering.’
    • ‘Is Miss Mason suffering from Chronic Pain Disorder or is she malingering…?’
    • ‘Evidence for this may prove difficult to find, and it remains impossible to exclude malingering as a potential cause.’
    • ‘Role-playing is not the same as faking or malingering.’
    • ‘Because it is often impossible to determine who is malingering and who is not, it is impossible to know how frequently malingering occurs.’
    • ‘There are cases where the hallucinations may be malingered or may be irrelevant to the criminal activity.’
    pretend to be ill, fake illness, feign illness, pretend to be an invalid, sham, shirk, skulk
    put it on
    skive, swing the lead
    View synonyms


Early 19th century: back-formation from malingerer, apparently from French malingre, perhaps formed as mal- wrongly + haingre weak, probably of Germanic origin.