Definition of malefactor in English:


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  • A person who commits a crime or some other wrong.

    ‘Good policing and tough sentencing have pushed New York to a tipping point, deterring some potential malefactors from crime.’
    • ‘The cure for crime is locking up malefactors and doing so with equal and impartial enthusiasm regardless of skin colour.’
    • ‘She must have been a terrible malefactor indeed if her crimes are in proportion to her penalty.’
    • ‘I have heard stories of her riding on a green horse and righting wrongs caused by malefactors, but I have never seen her.’
    • ‘And occasionally this desire to inflict hurt on malefactors extends beyond the government and almost as far as criminals.’
    • ‘It might be allowed that involuntary tests, including race, may be used to identify perpetrators of known acts, but not merely potential malefactors.’
    • ‘His prayers, if for the souls of the malefactors, may remain private; they cannot be publicly understood.’
    • ‘Besides identifying malefactors, grand jurors were to discern problems of public order.’
    • ‘Some even worry that malefactors will go a step further, and begin hijacking address space that's already in active use.’
    • ‘What does it have to do with the fact that the malefactors cannot be prosecuted for car theft?’
    • ‘First, it was admitted in court that West's name was only included on the list of malefactors to ‘even things out‘.’
    • ‘Similarly, public execution by hanging was not unheard of, constituting an efficient means of ridding ‘the colony of malefactors.’’
    • ‘First, the malefactors would be swiftly put out of their misery and not forced, at huge expense from the taxpayer; to live on for countless years with their inner demons and tormented souls.’
    • ‘But more recently, he has been shocked that women in sports are, as he puts it, ‘holding their own’ as malefactors in the athletic realm.’
    • ‘This raises important legal, policy, and ethical questions about a government's use of the internet to track domestic and international malefactors.’
    • ‘During New York's fiscal crisis of the 1970s, he thundered from the pulpit against Wall Street's malefactors of great wealth.’
    • ‘In any case, the operation - holding the malefactors of the old regime accountable for their acts - does seem to be becoming a family affair.’
    • ‘Ahead of us lie the supposedly reliable computerized ID systems that can identify malefactors with long-range cameras.’
    • ‘Their selection by the mass-circulation magazine reflects the readiness of society to see corporate malefactors punished.’
    • ‘The secret to securing your credit card information from any malefactors is to give them nothing to steal.’
    criminal, culprit, wrongdoer, offender, villain, lawbreaker, felon, evil-doer, convict, delinquent, sinner, transgressor, outlaw, black hat
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/ˈmaləˌfaktər/ /ˈmæləˌfæktər/


Late Middle English from Latin, from malefact- ‘done wrong’, from the verb malefacere, from male ‘ill’ + facere ‘do’.