We have written about these words before, but thanks to Lobbyist Bob for this reminder to publish this again so that our public officials, either elected or appointed, are keenly aware that we are watching for any appearance of the “Feasance” triplets.
Note to public officials: Rest assured you will be exposed if you exhibit any wrongdoing.
Malfeasance is a wrongful or criminal act perpetrated by a public official or other person of authority. An act of malfeasance is done intentionally, disregarding the fact that the action is morally or legally wrong and will cause someone harm. The adjective form is malfeasant. The word malfeasance is derived from the French word malfaisance, which means wrongdoing.
Misfeasance is a an act that lawful, but performed in an unlawful, illegal or injurious manner. Generally, misfeasance is different from malfeasance in that the actor does not have the intent to harm, but the harm comes through the actor’s irresponsibility or negligence. The adjective form is misfeasant. The word misfeasance is derived from the French word mesfaisance, meaning to mis-do.
Nonfeasance is the failure to do something that one is legally responsible to do. Nonfeasance is an intentional failure to live up to one’s legal or moral duty in a given situation, a refusal to fulfill one’s obligation. The adjective form is nonfeasant. The word nonfeasance is derived from the French word faisance meaning an action, and the prefix non– which means not.