Simple Definition of mawkish
: sad or romantic in a foolish or exaggerated way
Full Definition of mawkish
1 : having an insipid often unpleasant taste
2 : sickly or puerilely sentimental
Examples of mawkish in a sentence
<a mawkish plea for donations to the charity>
Did You Know?
The etymology of mawkish really opens up a can of worms-or, more properly, maggots. The "mawk" of mawkish derives from Middle English "mawke," which means "maggot." "Mawke," in its turn, developed from the Old Norse word mathkr, which had the same meaning as its descendant. Although "mawkish" literally means "maggoty," since at least the 17th century English speakers have eschewed its decaying carcass implications and used it figuratively instead. As one language writer put it, "Time has treated 'mawkish' gently: the wormy stench and corruption of its primal state were forgotten and 'mawkish' became sickly in a weak sort of way instead of repulsive and revolting."
Origin of mawkish
Middle English mawke maggot, probably from Old Norse mathkr — more at maggot
First Known Use: circa 1697
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