mawkish

play
adjective mawk·ish \ ˈmȯ-kish \

Definition of mawkish

1 :lacking flavor or having an unpleasant taste
2 :exaggeratedly or childishly emotional
  • a mawkish love story
  • mawkish poetry

mawkishly

adverb

mawkishness

noun

mawkish was our Word of the Day on 10/30/2012. Hear the podcast!

Examples of mawkish in a Sentence

  1. a mawkish plea for donations to the charity

Recent Examples of mawkish from the Web

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."

Origin and Etymology of mawkish

Middle English mawke maggot, probably from Old Norse mathkr — more at maggot


MAWKISH Defined for English Language Learners

mawkish

play
adjective

Definition of mawkish for English Language Learners

  • : sad or romantic in a foolish or exaggerated way



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up mawkish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

alert quickness of mind or body

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!