Pronounced: a-muh-RAN(T)-thuhn, adj
Notes: Quite a mouthful, with one particularly annoying definition
The word malfeasance is probably well known; the meaning is “an illegal action, especially by a public official”.
It’s not new; it goes back to the mid-1600s
Background / Comments
The word comes from Anglo-Norman malfaisance (wrongdoing), which in turn came from Latin malefacere (to do wrong), from mal- (bad) and facere (to do). I recognized the ‘mal’ part of the word, but didn’t realize that the word is normally used about public officials. As for the similar-looking words I mentioned yesterday, nonfeasance (which I’ve heard of) means “a failure to act when there is an obligation to” and misfeasance (which I did not know before) means “an unlawful exercise of a lawful act” — think of it as “abusing one’s authority”. Come to think of it, misfeasance may have been a better choice… oh, well… hindsight.