Definition of mawkish
1 : lacking flavor or having an unpleasant taste
2 : exaggeratedly or childishly emotional a mawkish love story mawkish poetry
mawkish was our Word of the Day on 10/30/2012. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of mawkish in a Sentence
a mawkish plea for donations to the charity
Recent Examples of mawkish from the Web
The title character seems at odds with his own story—his behavior resists the mawkish sheen of Trevorrow's style.
Walk On,’ a salve about hope and redemption that seemed trite and mawkish several months ago.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mawkish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
The Squirming Origins of mawkish
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."
MAWKISH Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of mawkish for English Language Learners
: sad or romantic in a foolish or exaggerated way
Seen and Heard
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