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Home > Reading Comprehension > Word Parts > (Harry Potter) MAL


MAL means BAD

This is another word part that can be connected to fairly common words as well as more challenging ones. There are also several words which are opposite in nature because one has "mal-" and the other "bene-," such as benign/malign, benediction/malediction, benefactor/malefactor.


1. Write the word

2. Write what it means

3. Draw a picture to go with it

4. Answer the question about it.


meaning and example

what to draw

question to answer

(you may draw your answer, too)


poor nutrition - for example, eating only crackers and water for six months, or not including an important vitamin such as Vitamin C in the diet.

a meal that could be part of a diet that could cause "malnutrition"

What are three reasons someone might suffer from malnutrition?


a sickness or disease (flu, scarlet fever)

someone with a malady

What are three signs that someone has some kind of malady?


having a bad smell (example: a malodorous sewer) OR highly improper (malodorous behavior such as stealing or cheating)

Someone reacting to something malodorous

What are five different malodorous things using the first meaning? What are two malodorous actions according to the second meaning?


medical treatment that harms the patient because the doctor did something wrong or didn't do the right thing (for example, prescribing the wrong medicine or not noticing a serious problem).

What are two reasons that a doctor might commit malpractice?


a feeling of wanting to hurt someone on purpose.

What are two things a person might say who is full of malice?


wishing harm or evil to others (for example, Cruella de Ville is a malevolent character in "101 Dalmations" and Voldemort is malevolent in _Harry Potter_ stories)

A person with a "malevolent" expression (such as Cruella DeVille)

Name a character from a story or movie that was malevolent. What are two ways you could tell the character was malevolent?


person who does harm (Voldemort is a malefactor in the Harry Potter stories)

What "bene" word is the opposite of "malefactor?"


spiteful and mean on purpose (Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter stories is often malicious to Harry; bullies have a habit of being malicious)

Someone doing something malicious

What is different between being malicious and being careless?


to say bad or unfair things about ("She maligned the other people at her job because she wanted to make herself look better, but all it did was make her look bad.")

What are two things a person could say to malign someone else?


Causing harm or damage -- a malignant tumor must be removed or it can kill a person, and a malignant rumor hurts the people it is about

What would be an example of a rumor that is *not* malignant? What makes it not malignant?


a curse on someone or something-- saying out loud that you want bad things to happen


To pretend to be sick so you don't have to work

Someone malingering

What would be two ways you would know someone was malingering and didn't really have a malady or malaise?


not appropriate, especially in a social setting. Belching at a dinner party is *very* malapropos; yawning a lot during someone's speech is a somewhat malapropos.

Someone doing something malapropos

What are two things people might say if you did something malapropos?


Saying something a little bit wrong and having it come out funny --a Mr. Spooner was famous for saying things like "the queer old dean" instead of "the dear old queen," so these are sometimes called "Spoonerisms" too.

What are two things people would say if you said a malapropism?

mal de mer

"Bad from the ocean" -- seasickness

Someone suffering from mal de mer


having bad coordination -- clumsy

Someone being maladroit

What are three activities that a maladroit person would find difficult, even if it was fun?


a general feeling of discomfort and not feeling well

Someone with a malaise

What are three ways you could tell a person had some kind of malaise?

Here are some other words with "mal:"

maladapted, maladjusted, maladminister, malcontent, malfeasance, maltreatment

Complete these sentences with the "mal" word. Be sure to mix these sentences with words learned in previous lessons.

malice, malady, malaise, malicious, malignant, malpractice, malodorous, malnutrition, malapropos, malapropism, mal de mer, maladroit, malinger, malediction, malign, malevolent, malefactor

Note: Many of these words are very close in meaning, so think about the exact meaning when you choose between words like "malicious" and "malevolent"

1. It was bad news to find out from the doctor that the strange growth was _______________________________ .

2. The basketball team didn't pay any attention to the ___________________________ that the crazy man was screaming at them.

3. A very unkind______________________________ set fire to the library.

4. I do not care for people who are eager to ________________________ someone else.

5. When the settlers from Europe came to America, they brought a new ________________________ called smallpox that caused much sickness and death.

6. On the way from Europe to America, many people on the boats suffered from __________________________ , especially when there were storms.

7. At first we thought some _______________________________ person had pulled up our plants, but we found out that it was animals.

8. Many fairy tales have characters that are so completely ________________________ that they never do anything good unless it's for a bad reason.

9. After the basketball game, my sneakers were quite ___________________________!

10. After a diet of nothing but bread and water for five weeks, the man was clearly suffering from _______________________________________.

11. He comes up with the funniest ________________________________ without even meaning to!

12. Nobody likes it when there is one person on the team who wants to ________________________________ instead of working hard.

13. At first the coach thought Kathy was too _____________________________ to play basketball well, but she worked hard and became a very good player.

14. Wearing old shorts and a T-shirt to a wedding is usually considered ______________________________ .

15. A long time ago, doctors would do things that we would call ___________________________ if they did them today, because they didn't know better.

16. If a person suffered from a ___________________________ and had no energy, they might put leeches on them.

"With _______________________________ towards none" means you do not want to hurt anyone or cause them harm.


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