Have you ever pretended to be sick or hurt to get out of taking a test or doing a chore? Then you, my dear, are a malingerer, and should be ashamed of yourself. Shape up!
Knowing that the prefix mal is from the Latin for “bad,” we can tell right off that being a malingerer is not a good thing. This noun form of the verb malinger comes from the French malingre which means “sickly.” (Obviously, it’s bad to pretend to be sick.) In Jack London’s Call of the Wild, the new dog, Pike, is referred to as “a clever malingerer and thief,” giving a clear negative context to the word.