mugwump

noun mug·wump \ ˈməg-ˌwəmp \

Definition of mugwump

1 :a bolter from the Republican party in 1884
2 :a person who is independent (as in politics) or who remains undecided or neutral

mugwump was our Word of the Day on 01/11/2016. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Mugwump is an anglicized version of a word used by Massachusett Indians to mean "war leader." The word was sometimes jestingly applied in early America to someone who was the "head guy." The first political mugwumps were Republicans in the presidential race of 1884 who chose to support Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland rather than their own party's nominee. Their independence prompted one 1930s humorist to define a mugwump as "a bird who sits with its mug on one side of the fence and its wump on the other."

Origin and Etymology of mugwump

obsolete slang mugwump kingpin, from Massachusett mugquomp, muggumquomp war leader


Learn More about mugwump


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up mugwump? 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

to praise usually to excess

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!