Although the term refers, apparently, to bad behavior of an officeholder in office, malversation sounds to me like a word which really ought to mean a bad or evil conversation. After all, isn't misbehavior in office already known as malfeasance? Does this not already capture the "mal-" prefix so given to lend a discomforting aura to words: maleficent, malpractice, malady, malfunction, malodorous, malice. And are there not already words for the bad officeholder purpose sufficient to fill out all the needs of the English language? And yet, is there a word which singly captures the sense of having a conversation which is, for whatever reason, itself harmful, hurtful, turned toward ill ends?

I propose, then, a repurposing of the word, as is on occasion appropriate in the continuing evolution of language; that henceforth the word malversation shall be taken to mean a conversation in which the participants plot bad deeds or speak ill of others. "Becky and Betty were having quite a lurid malversation about Bonnie"; "Diego and Scaramanga malversed about their planned betrayal of the Duke of Blois"; "Mrs. Fitchman delights in malversing about everybody she dislikes."

Let us not let so useful a linguistic opportunity go to waste, but let us instead cast malversations of all stripes into the light!!


212 words

Mal`ver*sa"tion (?), n. [F., fr. malverser to be corrupt in office, fr. L. male ill + versari to move about, to occupy one's self, vertere to turn. See Malice, and Verse.]

Evil conduct; fraudulent practices; misbehavior, corruption, or extortion in office.


© Webster 1913.

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