verb (used without object)
- to pretend illness, especially in order to shirk one’s duty, avoid work, etc.
- (intr) to pretend or exaggerate illness, esp to avoid work
v.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). v.
- To feign illness or other incapacity in order to avoid duty or work.