Malaise is a feeling of pain or discomfort that's not specific. You just know that you're not feeling well, but you can't explain it.
More loosely, malaise is a non-specific feeling of worry and discomfort in your mind or your spirit.
Part of speech:
(Like “milk,” “rice,” and “education,” uncountable nouns are words for stuff that can’t be broken into exact units. You talk about “some milk,” “the rice,” and “a lot of education,” but you don’t say “a milk,” “three rices,” or “many educations.”
Likewise, talk about “the malaise,” “such malaise,” “a lot of malaise,” “no malaise,” and so on, but don’t say “malaises.”)
How to use it:
Malaise is usually an ongoing feeling, not a quickly disappearing one. (That is, you might talk about a week-long or decades-long malaise, but you wouldn't say "I felt malaise as I stepped into the room.")
Talk about experiencing, feeling, suffering from, enduring, ignoring, surviving, shaking off, getting out of, lifting, breaking, escaping, causing, or inflicting "a feeling of malaise," "a feeling of general malaise," or simply "malaise."
You can make it possessive: "his malaise," "their malaise," "the malaise of our generation." And you can add descriptive words: "deep malaise," "our shared malaise," "financial malaise," "social malaise."
Even though "malaise" is usually an uncountable noun (like "stress" and "unease,") you can treat it as singular, too: "a general malaise," "an economic malaise," "this ongoing malaise." However, don't make it plural.
Lastly, although malaise is often experienced by a single person or a group of people, you can also talk figuratively about the malaise of a company, a relationship, a situation, and so on.
A feeling of malaise can creep into you after the holidays are over and the decorations are put away.
A new promotion, new signage, and a new line of products finally shook the store out of its malaise.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "malaise" means when you can explain it without saying "vague pain" or "general unease."
Think of a time you felt worried or unhappy for no particular reason, and fill in the blank: "Outwardly, everything seemed fine, but I couldn't ignore the malaise I felt when _____."
Example: "Outwardly, everything seemed fine, but I couldn't ignore the malaise I felt when the end of my final semester of graduate school was approaching."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're sampling questions from Orijinz, an awesome series of games about the origins of words, phrases, and quotes. Click here if you want to check them out. They're compact--perfect for stockings. Just saying. :) Try a question here each day this month, and see the right answer the next day. Have fun!
"Guess the fictional character [who spoke these lines]!
'Nothing spoils fun like finding out it builds character.'
'I won’t eat any cereal that doesn’t turn the milk purple.'
'I’m thinking of starting my own talk radio show. I’ll spout simplistic opinions for hours on end, ridicule anyone who disagrees with me, and generally foster divisiveness, cynicism, and a lower level of public dialogue!... Imagine getting paid to act like a six-year-old!'
'You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.'”
"The fictional character is: Calvin.”
"Guess the phrase!
Origin: This phrase comes from early 20th-century magazine stories, TV shows and movies about the Old West. It was used to describe the practice of guards who rode atop stagecoaches armed with weapons to protect their cargo and riders.
Definition: To protect or carefully watch something; to sit in the passenger seat of a car."
A Point Well Made:
Malala Yousafzai: “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
1. The opposite of MALAISE is
B. FULL GROWTH
2. _____ might be the solution for your midwinter malaise.
A. Better training for all of your employees
B. Covering the plants before a freeze
C. A brisk daily walk
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.