milquetoast

noun
milque·​toast | \ ˈmilk-ˌtōst How to pronounce milquetoast (audio) \

Definition of milquetoast

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a timid, meek, or unassertive person

milquetoast

adjective

Definition of milquetoast (Entry 2 of 2)

1 of a person : timid, meek, or unassertive Do we really want a someone who is a milquetoast halfhearted candidate or someone who will defend the Constitution with every fiber of her being?— Dana B. Orr
2 : lacking in character or vigor : wishy-washy … after declining multiple opportunities to comment during the reporting of the story, he finally produced a most milquetoast statement Friday.— Jerry Brewer

Why is it milquetoast, and not milk toast?

Caspar Milquetoast is a comic strip character created in 1924 by cartoonist Harold T. Webster. Beginning a few years after the character's debut, the term milquetoast came to describe a timid or meek person. Caspar's last name is fitting because milk toast is a weak, bland concoction of buttered toast served in a dish of warm milk.

Examples of milquetoast in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun So the musically milquetoast, moon-eyed ballads met with big singalongs in town last September were greeted largely with disinterested chatter among Chesney fans across the stadium. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 15 May 2022 Now, this doesn't mean Biden will need to tap a milquetoast moderate. Damon Linker, The Week, 27 Jan. 2022 The most milquetoast of all the sauces sampled, this offering is far too tame in the heat and tang department, relying instead on salt to do all the work. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, 26 Jan. 2022 Many words could be used to describe the outlook for the 2022 tax season ranging from milquetoast terms, like challenging or problematic, all the way to more honest forecasts, such as one horrific tax headache on the horizon. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 22 Jan. 2022 Speaking of milquetoast, Congress had the chance to pass legislation that could address the myriad threats to climate stability, food security, biodiversity, and the rest of our ecological health. Heather Hansman, Outside Online, 6 Jan. 2022 Neither could ever be tagged as a milquetoast moderate, as their unsuccessful primary opponents learned the hard way. Geoff Duncan, CNN, 4 Jan. 2022 In the summer of 2019, the presidential campaign of Joe Biden, then merely a milquetoast former vice president, surprised climate change advocates with an ambitious proposal to cut carbon emissions. Mike Pearl, The New Republic, 6 Dec. 2021 The gentle, self-effacing milquetoast is also a loving, silly uncle, which makes his estrangement from Phyllis and her children even more painful. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, 8 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of milquetoast

Noun

1935, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1931, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for milquetoast

Noun

Caspar Milquetoast, comic strip character created by H. T. Webster †1952 American cartoonist

Adjective

from Caspar Milquetoast — more at milquetoast entry 1

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The first known use of milquetoast was in 1931

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Dictionary Entries Near milquetoast

Milpitas

milquetoast

milreis

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Milquetoast.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/milquetoast. Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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