Etymology
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mal- 

word-forming element of Latin origin 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), from Proto-Italic *malo-, from PIE *mol-o-, probably from PIE root *mel- (3) "false, bad, wrong."

Most Modern English words with this element are 19c. coinages. It generally implies imperfection or deficiency, but often it is simply negative (as in malfeasance, malcontent). It is equivalent to dys- and caco- of Greek origin and Germanic mis- (1).

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maladaptive (adj.)

"not exhibiting adequate or appropriate adjustment to a situation or environment," 1912, from mal- + adaptive.

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malnourished (adj.)

"suffering from insufficient nutrition," 1906, from mal- "bad, badly" + nourished (see nourish).

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malocclusion (n.)

"faulty occlusion" (of teeth), 1864, from mal- + occlusion.

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malconstruction (n.)

"false or faulty construction," 1809, from mal- + construction.

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maladroit (adj.)

"not dexterous, clumsy, awkward," 1670s (implied in maladroitly), from mal- + adroit. Related: Maladroitness.

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malnutrition (n.)

"defect of sustenance from imperfect assimilation of food," 1843, from mal- + nutrition.

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malassimilation (n.)

also mal-assimilation, "faulty digestion, imperfect nutrition," 1840, from mal- + assimilation.

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maleducation (n.)

also mal-education, "imperfect or misdirected education," 1840, from mal- + education.

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