Definition of maudlin
- a mob of maudlin rummies … sing hymns
- —Joseph Mitchell
- would crack open another beer and become maudlin
- —Patrick Moore
- maudlin expressions of regret
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He became maudlin and started crying like a child.
a maudlin movie about a lovable tramp
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The history of maudlin owes as much to the Bible as to the barroom. The biblical Mary Magdalene is often (though some say mistakenly) identified with the weeping sinner who washed Jesus' feet with her tears to repent for her sins. This association led to the frequent depiction of Mary Magdalene as a weeping penitent, and by the 16th century even the name Magdalene suggested teary emotion to many English speakers. It was then that maudlin, an alteration of Magdalene, appeared in the English phrase "maudlin drunk," which, as one Englishman explained in 1592, described a tearful drunken state whereby "a fellow will weepe for kindnes in the midst of his Ale and kisse you."
First Known Use: 1509See Words from the same year
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