make-work Look up make-work at
1913 (adj.); 1937 (n.), "busy-work, activity of no value," American English, from the verbal expression to make work (see make (v.) + work (n.)).
A big fire devoured a street; "It will make work," I heard my father say; a ship was lost at sea laden with silk, and leather, and cloth; "It will make work," said my father; a reservoir broke jail, and swept the heart of the town away. "It will make work," my mother said; so all human calamities were softened blessings to me; they made "work," and work made wages, and wages made bread and potatoes, and clothes for me. ["The Radical Review," Chicago, Sept. 15, 1883]
makeless (adj.) Look up makeless at
early 13c., "peerless, without equal," from make (n.) + -less. Meaning "mateless, widowed" is from early 15c.
makeover (n.) Look up makeover at
also make-over, by 1981, from phrase make over in sense "to refashion" (1690s); from make (v.) + over (adv.).
maker (n.) Look up maker at
c. 1300, "one who makes," also "God as creator," agent noun from make (v.). Specifically, "manufacturer" by late 14c. To meet (one's) maker "die" is attested by 1814.
makeshift Look up makeshift at
also make-shift, 1560s, as a noun, "shifty person, rogue," from make (v.) + shift (v.). Adjectival sense of "substitute" is first recorded 1680s. Compare make-sport "a laughing stock" (1610s).
makeweight (n.) Look up makeweight at
also make-weight, 1690s, "small quantity of something added to make the total reach a certain weight," from make (v.) + weight.
MAKE WEIGHT. A small candle: a term applied to a little slender man. [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," London, 1785]
mako (n.) Look up mako at
"large blue shark," listed as 1727 in OED, from "The History of Japan," English translation of Engelbert Kaempfer's German manuscript; however this is claimed by some to be an error, and some say Kaempfer's word represents Japanese makkô(-kujira) "sperm whale." But the description in the text fits neither the shark nor the whale. The word is ultimately from Maori mako "shark, shark's tooth," which is of uncertain etymology. If the 1727 citation is an error, the earliest attested use is 1820, from a book on New Zealand languages.
mal du siecle (n.) Look up mal du siecle at
French, mal du sìecle, "world-weariness."
mal- Look up mal- at
word-forming element meaning "bad, badly, ill, poorly, wrong, wrongly," from French mal (adv.), from Old French mal (adj., adv.) "evil, ill, wrong, wrongly" (9c.), from Latin male (adv.) "badly," or malus (adj.) "bad, evil" (fem. mala, neuter malum), of unknown origin, perhaps related to Avestan mairiia "treacherous." Most Modern English words with this prefix are 19c. coinages.
malabsorption (n.) Look up malabsorption at
1879, from mal- + absorption.
Malachi Look up Malachi at
masc. proper name, Old Testament name of the last in order of the Twelve Prophets, from Hebrew Mal'akhi, literally "my messenger," from mal'akh "messenger," from Semitic base l-'-k (compare Arabic la'aka "he sent").
malachite (n.) Look up malachite at
common green ore of copper, late 14c., from French, ultimately from Greek malachitis (lithos) "mallow (stone)," from malakhe "mallow" (see mallow (n.)); the mineral traditionally so called from resemblance of its color to that of the leaves of the mallow plant.
malacia (n.) Look up malacia at
from Latin malacia "a calm at sea," from Greek malakia "softness, delicacy, effeminacy," from malakos "soft" (see mallet).
maladaptation (n.) Look up maladaptation at
1829, from mal- + adaptation.
maladaptive (adj.) Look up maladaptive at
1912, from mal- + adaptive (see adapt).
maladjusted (adj.) Look up maladjusted at
1846, from mal- + adjusted (see adjust).
maladjustment (n.) Look up maladjustment at
1823, from mal- + adjustment.
maladministration (n.) Look up maladministration at
also mal-administration, 1640s, from mal- + administration.
maladroit (adj.) Look up maladroit at
1670s, from mal- + adroit. Related: Maladroitly; maladroitness.
malady (n.) Look up malady at
late 13c., from Old French maladie "sickness, illness, disease" (13c.), from malade "ill" (12c.), from Latin male habitus "doing poorly, feeling sick," literally "ill-conditioned," from male "badly" (see mal-) + habitus, past participle of habere "have, hold" (see habit (n.)). Related: Maladies.
Malaga (n.) Look up Malaga at
c. 1600, white wine exported from the Spanish port of Malaga, founded by the Phoenicians and probably from Phoenician malha "salt."
Malagasy Look up Malagasy at
"pertaining to Madagascar," large island off the coast of Africa, 1835, apparently a native alteration of Madagascar.
malaise (n.) Look up malaise at
c. 1300, maleise "pain, suffering; sorrow, anxiety," also, by late 14c., "disease, sickness," from Old French malaise "difficulty, suffering, hardship," literally "ill-ease," from mal "bad" (see mal-) + aise "ease" (see ease (n.)). The current use is perhaps a mid-18c. reborrowing from Modern French. A Middle English verbal form, malasen "to trouble, distress" (mid-15c.), from Old French malaisier, did not endure.
malamute (n.) Look up malamute at
also malemute, Eskimo dog, 1874, from name of Alaska Eskimo tribe in northwestern Alaska that developed the breed. The native form is malimiut.
malapert (adj.) Look up malapert at
"impudent," early 15c., from Old French mal apert, literally "ill-skilled," from mal- "badly" (see mal-) + apert "skillful," variant of espert "experienced, skillful, clever" (from Latin expertus; see expert). Related: Malapertly; malapertness.
malaprop (n.) Look up malaprop at
1823, from name of theatrical character Mrs. Malaprop (see malapropism). Related: Malapropian.
malapropism (n.) Look up malapropism at
1826, from Mrs. Malaprop, character in Sheridan's play "The Rivals" (1775), noted for her ridiculous misuse of large words (such as "contagious countries" for "contiguous countries"), her name coined from malapropos.
malapropos (adv.) Look up malapropos at
1660s, from French mal à propos "inopportunely, inappropriately," literally "badly for the purpose," from mal (see mal-) + proposer "propose" (see propose).
malaria (n.) Look up malaria at
1740, from Italian mal'aria, from mala aria, literally "bad air," from mala "bad" (fem. of malo, from Latin malus; see mal-) + aria "air" (see air (n.1)). Probably first used by Italian physician Francisco Torti (1658-1741). The disease, now known to be mosquito-borne, once was thought to be caused by foul air in marshy districts. Replaced native ague.
malarial (adj.) Look up malarial at
1830, from malaria + -al (1).
malarkey (n.) Look up malarkey at
also malarky, "lies and exaggerations," 1924, American English, of unknown origin. It also is a surname.
malassimilation (n.) Look up malassimilation at
also mal-assimilation, 1840, from mal- + assimilation.
malaxation (n.) Look up malaxation at
"softening," 1650s, from Late Latin malaxationem (nominative malaxatio), noun of action from past participle stem of malaxare "to soften, mollify," from Greek malassein "to make soft," related to malakos "soft" (see mallet).
Malay (n.) Look up Malay at
1590s, from native name Malayu. As an adjective from 1779; earlier adjective form was Malayan (1660s).
Malayalam Look up Malayalam at
1837, Dravidian language of Malabar, from Dravidian Malayali, from mala "mountain" + al "possess."
Malaysia Look up Malaysia at
from Malay + Latinate ending -sia. Originally an early 19c. British geographers' name for the Indonesian archipelago. Related: Malaysian.
Malcolm Look up Malcolm at
masc. proper name, from Old Irish Máel Coluim "servant of (St.) Columba," from máel "servant," etymologically "bald, shorn, hornless," from PIE base *mai- "to cut" (see maim).
malcontent Look up malcontent at
1580s, noun and adjective, from French malcontent; see mal- + content (adj.). Related: Malcontented; malcontentedly; malcontentedness.
maldistribution (n.) Look up maldistribution at
also mal-distribution, 1824, from mal- + distribution.
Maldives Look up Maldives at
probably from Sanskrit maladvipa "garland of islands," from mala "garland" + dvipa "island." Related: Maldivian.
male (n.) Look up male at
late 14c., "male human being; male fish or land animal," from Old French masle (adj.) "masculine, male, adult," also used as a noun (12c., Modern French mâle), from Latin masculus "masculine, male, worthy of a man" (source also of Provençal mascle, Spanish macho, Italian maschio), diminutive of mas (genitive maris) "male person or animal, male."
male (adj.) Look up male at
late 14c., from Old French male, masle "male, masculine; a male" (see male (n.)). Mechanical sense of "part of an instrument that penetrates another part" is from 1660s.
male chauvinism (n.) Look up male chauvinism at
1969; see chauvinism.
male chauvinist (adj.) Look up male chauvinist at
1969; see chauvinism.
malediction (n.) Look up malediction at
mid-15c., from Old French maledicion "a curse" (15c.), from Latin maledictionem (nominative maledictio) "the action of speaking evil of, slander," in Late Latin "a curse," noun of action from past participle stem of maledicere "to speak badly or evil of, slander," from male "badly" (see mal-) + dicere "to say" (see diction).
maledictory (adj.) Look up maledictory at
1822, from Latin maledictus (from maledicere; see malediction) + -ory.
maleducation (n.) Look up maleducation at
also mal-education, 1840, from mal- + education.
malefaction (n.) Look up malefaction at
early 15c., from Medieval Latin malefactionem (nominative malefactio), noun of action from past participle stem of malefacere (see malefactor).
malefactor (n.) Look up malefactor at
mid-15c., from Latin malefactor, agent noun from past participle stem of malefacere "to do evil," from male "badly" (see mal-) + facere "to perform" (see factitious).
malefic (adj.) Look up malefic at
1650s, from Latin maleficus "wicked, vicious, criminal," from male "ill" (see mal-) + -ficus, from stem of facere "to make, do" (see factitious).