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For the Swedish entomologist, inventor of the Malaise trap, see René Malaise.
ICD-10 R53
ICD-9 780.7
MedlinePlus 003089
eMedicine topic list

Malaise (/məˈlz/ muh-LAZE) is a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness, of being "out of sorts", often the first indication of an infection or other disease. Malaise is often defined in medical literature as a "general feeling of being unwell". The word has existed in the French language since at least the 12th century.

The term is also often used figuratively in other contexts; for example, "economic malaise" refers to an economy that is stagnant or in recession (compare depression). The term is particularly associated with the 1973–75 recession.[1] A speech made by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 is commonly referred to as the "malaise" speech, even though Carter did not actually use the term in this speech.


Malaise is a highly non-specific symptom and causes can range from the slightest ailment, such as an emotion (causing fainting, a vasovagal response) or hunger (light hypoglycemia), to the most serious (cancer, stroke, heart attack, internal bleeding, etc.).

Generally speaking, malaise expresses a patient's feeling that "something is not right", like a general warning signal, but only a medical examination can determine the cause.

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Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ One example can be found in The Next 200 Years: A Scenario for America and the World, by Herman Kahn et al., published in 1976, p. 2.

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