When you malinger, you pretend to be sick. If you ever claimed to have a stomach ache in order to stay home from school, you know what it means to malinger.
The word malinger comes from the French malingre, which can mean "ailing or sickly," but its exact origin is uncertain. One theory says that mal, or "wrongly," suggests the sick person is just faking. Lying about a stomach ache, holding the thermometer near a light bulb, refusing to get out of bed, moaning — these are classic tactics of those who malinger, or pretend to be too sick to do anything but lie around the house.