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Aug 6, 2007
This week's theme
Red-herring words

This week's words
malefactor
incommode
axenic
hardscrabble
breastsummer

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Even though most malefactors on this planet happen to be male, the word in itself has nothing to imply that men have a monopoly in the crime biz. A woman who holds up a bank is still a malefactor, maybe a malefactress, but never a femalefactor.

The combining form male- meaning 'evil' occurs in words derived from Latin. So malevolence in a person can be a precursor to violence in those belonging to the fair sex as easily as in those of the unfair sex.

This week brings together five words with meanings that are not the first things that come to mind. Watch out for these red-herring words!

malefactor

(MAL-uh-fak-tuhr) Pronunciation Sound Clip

noun: One who does harm.

[From Latin male- (evil) + facere (to do).]

"True, most malefactors do get some sort of a break on their jail time in Orange County."
Gordon Dillow; No Break for Hilton in OC; The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, California); Jun 10, 2007.

See more usage examples of malefactor in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

X-Bonus

A woman's head is always influenced by heart; but a man's heart by his head. -Marguerite Gardiner, writer (1 Sep 1789-1849)

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