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See also: Malus



From Latin, by analogy with bonus (additional compensation)


  • IPA(key): /ˈmeɪ.ləs/, /ˈmɑː.ləs/, /ˈmæ.ləs/


malus (plural maluses)

  1. (business) The return of performance-related compensation originally paid by an employer to an employee as a result of the discovery of a defect in the performance.
    When bank fired the loan originator, they recovered the last two years of her bonuses under the malus clause in her contract.
  2. (rare) A penalty or negative thing.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Might occur in financial services in connection with defaulted loans.
  • Sometimes used in reference to games as a negative counterpart to "bonus."


Coordinate terms[edit]



Etymology 1[edit]

Proto-Italic [Term?], related to Oscan mallom and mallud (bad). Originally associated with Ancient Greek μέλας (mélas, black, dark), but support for this is waning. Perhaps from the same Proto-Indo-European root as Avestan 𐬨𐬀𐬌𐬭𐬌𐬌𐬀 (mairiia, treacherous).



malus (feminine mala, neuter malum, comparative pēior, superlative pessimus); first/second declension

  1. bad, evil, wicked, injurious
    Malus et nequam homo.
    An evil and wicked man.
    Malam opinionem habere de aliquo.
    To have a bad opinion of someone.
    Consuetudo mala.
    A bad habit.
  2. destructive, mischievous, hurtful
  3. ill-looking, ugly, deformed
  4. (of fate) evil, unlucky
    Pessima puella.
    The unluckiest girl.

First/second declension.

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
nominative malus mala malum malī malae mala
genitive malī malae malī malōrum malārum malōrum
dative malō malō malīs
accusative malum malam malum malōs malās mala
ablative malō malā malō malīs
vocative male mala malum malī malae mala

This adjective has irregular comparative and superlative degrees.

Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Ancient Greek μηλέα (mēléa) (See also Ancient Greek μᾶλον (mâlon, apple), μῆλον (mêlon, apple)).



mālus f (genitive mālī); second declension

  1. an apple tree
    Malus bifera.
    An apple tree bearing fruit biannually.
    Et steriles platani malos gessere valentes.
    And the fruitless plane trees have borne strong apple trees.
    Felices arbores putantur esse quercus vel malus.
    The fruitful trees are thought to be an oak or apple tree.

Second declension.

Case Singular Plural
nominative mālus mālī
genitive mālī mālōrum
dative mālō mālīs
accusative mālum mālōs
ablative mālō mālīs
vocative māle mālī
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

By some referred to root mac-, from the Ancient Greek word μακρός (makrós, long) and Latin magnus (long); but perhaps the same word with malus.



mālus m (genitive mālī); second declension

  1. a mast of a ship
    Antemnas ad malos destinare.
    To fasten the sails to the masts.
    Malum erigi imperavit.
    He has ordered the mast to be erected.
    Attolli malos.
    The masts are lifted.
  2. a standard or pole to which the awnings spread over the theater were attached
  3. the beam in the middle of a winepress
  4. the corner beams of a tower
    Turrium mali.
    Beams of the towers.

Second declension.

Case Singular Plural
nominative mālus mālī
genitive mālī mālōrum
dative mālō mālīs
accusative mālum mālōs
ablative mālō mālīs
vocative māle mālī


  • malus in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • malus in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • du Cange, Charles (1883), “malus”, in G. A. Louis Henschel, Pierre Carpentier, Léopold Favre, editors, Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (in Latin), Niort: L. Favre
  • malus” in Félix Gaffiot’s Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette (1934)
  • Carl Meissner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • (ambiguous) to be broken down by misfortune: in malis iacere
    • (ambiguous) to be hard pressed by misfortune: malis urgeri
    • (ambiguous) to have a good or bad reputation, be spoken well, ill of: bona, mala existimatio est de aliquo
    • (ambiguous) moral science; ethics: philosophia, in qua de bonis rebus et malis, deque hominum vita et moribus disputatur
    • (ambiguous) to take a thing in good (bad) part: in bonam (malam) partem accipere aliquid
    • (ambiguous) my mind forebodes misfortune: animus praesāgit malum
    • (ambiguous) my mind forebodes misfortune: animo praesagio malum
    • (ambiguous) a guilty conscience: conscientia mala or peccatorum, culpae, sceleris, delicti
    • (ambiguous) to be tormented by remorse: conscientia mala angi, excruciari
    • (ambiguous) to bless (curse) a person: precari alicui bene (male) or omnia bona (mala), salutem
    • (ambiguous) from beginning to end: ab ovo usque ad mala (proverb.)
  • malus in The Perseus Project (1999) Perseus Encyclopedia[2]
  • malus in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • malus in William Smith, editor (1848) A Dictionary of Greek Biography and Mythology, London: John Murray
  • malus in William Smith, editor (1854, 1857) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, volume 1 & 2, London: Walton and Maberly
  • malus in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin
  • OLD, p. 1069