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use of 'malaise'

 
 
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2009 08:48 pm
Though Singapore's economy is export-driven, several Members of Parliament have urged the Government to get Singaporeans to spend more, as one response to the current economic malaise.

What is the meaning of 'malaise'? Is it the correct word to use?

Many thanks.
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Type: Question • Score: 0 • Views: 1,199 • Replies: 11
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Setanta
 
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Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2009 08:51 pm
@tanguatlay,
Yes, it is correctly used. It is a loan word from French. In French, it means a sickness. In English, it is most often used in a figurative sense. Here, it might be reasonably said to mean "the current economic sickness." It is a handy word to have around, because English speakers would not usually speak of an inanimate object or an abstract idea as being sick.
tanguatlay
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2009 08:56 pm
@Setanta,
Thanks, Setanta, for your guidance.

Can a person be said to be suffering from malaise? If so, does it mean that he/she is not well, but doesn't what is actually troubling him/her.

Despite referring to the dictionary, I still do not understand how to use it in relation to a person's condition.

Thanks again.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2009 08:59 pm
@tanguatlay,
Quote:
Can a person be said to be suffering from malaise? If so, does it mean that he/she is not well, but doesn't [know] what is actually troubling him/her.


Yes it can, and it sometimes is used that way. You are very perceptive, because when it is used for a person, it is used precisely for a situation in which a person feels ill, but does not present with specific or acute symptoms. I was in the Army Medical Corps, and worked in hospitals for a few years after i got out of the army. It was more likely to be used in conversation among doctors, nurses and other health care workers than to be actually written into the record, but it was commonly used.
tanguatlay
 
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Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2009 09:11 pm
@Setanta,
Many thanks, Setanta, for your help.

Believe me, I have been troubled by this word for many years. Now I am no longer Confused (confused) by this word.
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contrex
 
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Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 02:01 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
English speakers would not usually speak of an inanimate object or an abstract idea as being sick.


I beg to differ: sick building syndrome, a sick organisation, a sick joke, various nations being alleged to be the "sick man of Europe", are just a few examples of this very common usage.

And "malaise" usually takes an article. One does not suffer from malaise, one suffers from a malaise.

Francis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 02:10 am
@contrex,
I don't know exactly how English native speakers take this word but I'd say the French word malaise would translate in English as uneasiness, or momentary pain.
aidan
 
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Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 02:34 am
@Francis,
Yes, sort of a vague, but invasive and overriding sense of all not being as well as it could be- but also not seriously bad. It could even indicate boredom or lack of energy rather than any specific malady (which is the word I'd be more inclined to use for a nonspecific illness).
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Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 05:26 am
@contrex,
Ah, the Americanophobe . . .

I didn't say that "sick" would never be used for inanimate objects or abstract concepts, i just said not usually. "Sick building syndrome? ! ? ! ?" Oh yeah, there's a fine example of something i drop into conversations several times a day.

Contrex, a legend in his own mind . . .

By the way, bright boy, in "sick old man of Europe," apart from having been used to describe the Turkish empire, rather than being a common expression, "sick" modifies "old man," which is neither an inanimate object nor an abstract concept. The phrase as a whole functions as an abstract concept . . . genius.
tanguatlay
 
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Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 08:07 am
@Setanta,
Many thanks, Setanta, Contrex, Francis and Aidan, for your help.
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contrex
 
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Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 12:14 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta, are you autistic? Is that why you are so unpleasant?
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 12:16 pm
@contrex,
Acknowledging that if anyone could be an expert on what it means to be personally unpleasant, it would be you, Contrex, i will simply note that you have been one nasty son-of-a-bitch, and particularly in addressing Americans, since you first appeared in these fora. I hardly think you have any basis for taking umbrage at the unpleasantness of others.
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