: the receptacle into which food is taken by swallowing:
: crop
: the throat, gullet, or jaws especially of a voracious animal
the gaping maw of the tiger
: something suggestive of a gaping maw
the dark maw of the cave

Examples of maw in a Sentence

the gaping maw of the tiger
Recent Examples on the Web Wooden teeth would have filled Washington’s maw full of rotting pulp. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Feb. 2024 Even stars much bigger than our Sun can fall victim to the black hole’s extreme gravity and be pulled in toward its gaping maw. Elizabeth Rayne, Ars Technica, 6 Feb. 2024 Startups like OpenAI, Anthropic, and Stability AI are looking into a steadily widening maw of legal action right now, some of it from experienced and litigious organizations with sometimes decades of copyright battles under their belts. Wes Davis, The Verge, 27 Feb. 2024 There are tens of thousands of these vanished: soldiers who disappeared into the maw of battle, children spirited away for adoption in Russia, civilian villagers like Olena’s husband, Oleh, her childhood sweetheart, who engaged in quixotic acts of defiance against a powerful occupying army. Sabra Ayres, Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2024 Not since The Honeymooners had television had a blue collar hero, never had the prime character in a program been so unpalatable, and never had so many controversial issues been tossed into the maw of a sitcom. Jamie Malanowski, EW.com, 6 Dec. 2023 With their enormous maws, the diet of this large pliosaur species would have included large cephalopods, large fish, and other large reptiles. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 6 Dec. 2023 Sanitation workers will no longer need to heave each dripping sack into the maw of a truck since the bins can be lifted and tipped automatically. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 12 Dec. 2023 Attractiveness has entered the maw of the culture war because the stigma against beautiful men has been fading. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, 15 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'maw.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Old English maga; akin to Old High German mago stomach, Lithuanian makas purse

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of maw was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near maw

Cite this Entry

“Maw.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/maw. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a body part (as a stomach or a crop) that receives swallowed food
: the throat, gullet, or jaws especially of a flesh-eating animal

More from Merriam-Webster on maw

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