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From Anglo-Norman mal engin, Middle French mal engin, from mal (bad, evil) + engin (ruse; trickery; deception).



malengine (uncountable)

  1. (archaic) Evil intent, bad intention; fraud, deceit.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d’Arthur, Book VII:
      I dare sey for good love she bade us to dyner and nat for no male engyne.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queen, III.i:
      the chaste damzell, that had neuer priefe / Of such malengine and fine forgerie, / Did easily beleeue her strong extremitie.
    • 1641, John Milton, Of Reformation:
      for when the protector's brother, Lord Sudley, the admiral, through private malice and mal-engine was to lose his life, no man could be found fitter than Bishop Latimer [] to divulge in his sermon the forged accusations laid to his charge [].