maud·​lin | \ ˈmȯd-lən How to pronounce maudlin (audio) \

Definition of maudlin

1 : drunk enough to be emotionally silly a mob of maudlin rummies … sing hymns— Joseph Mitchell would crack open another beer and become maudlin— Patrick Moore
2 : weakly and effusively sentimental maudlin expressions of regret

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Did You Know?

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."

Examples of maudlin in a Sentence

He became maudlin and started crying like a child. a maudlin movie about a lovable tramp
Recent Examples on the Web Don't let anyone trap you into a maudlin discussion or an emotional confrontation. Magi Helena, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Jan. 4, 2020: Aries, look your best; Capricorn, time to get organized," 4 Jan. 2020 Tumarkin takes up subjects like youth suicide and the plight of homeless people in North Melbourne, but her approach is never maudlin. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "The Best Books of 2019," 2 Dec. 2019 Even so, there's nothing maudlin or nostalgic about this reflective, measured goodbye from one of the genre's greats. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 100 Greatest Albums of the 2010s: Staff Picks," 19 Nov. 2019 The angry-crusader angle revealed sanctimonious media self-congratulation at its most arrogant yet maudlin, and its sacrilegious offense was compounded by the aesthetic offense of its dreary indie-movie visual style. Armond White, National Review, "In By the Grace of God, Insight Surpasses PC Righteousness," 18 Oct. 2019 Lyrical, enigmatic, lively, maudlin, affecting and, ultimately heart-tugging. Joanne Engelhardt, The Mercury News, "Review: Palo Alto Players’ ‘Bright Star’ connects on many levels," 16 Sep. 2019 Bong extends that enmity into a murderous, bloody, mean-to-be-hilarious climax, then maudlin finale. Armond White, National Review, "Parasite: Antifa Comedy for the Cancel-Culture Era," 11 Oct. 2019 The chorus is huge, but the best part is the maudlin bridge, which just begs to be dragged out. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "The Best Karaoke Songs For Singers and Non-Singers Alike," 26 Sep. 2019 For Generation Productions, director Kenny Howard doesn’t belabor the dramatic moments that occur in life, and thankfully never allows his actors to turn maudlin or saccharine. Matthew J. Palm,, "‘Seasons’ gently and movingly showcases the human circle of life | Review," 14 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'maudlin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of maudlin

1509, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for maudlin

alteration of Mary Magdalene; from her depiction as a weeping penitent

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Time Traveler for maudlin

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The first known use of maudlin was in 1509

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Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Maudlin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for maudlin


How to pronounce maudlin (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of maudlin

: showing or expressing too much emotion especially in a foolish or annoying way

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