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milque·​toast ˈmilk-ˌtōst How to pronounce milquetoast (audio)
: a timid, meek, or unassertive person


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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
: 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

Did you know?

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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
While printers might have seemed like the most milquetoast of electronics before the pandemic, sales soared once everyone started working from home and couldn’t rely on the office printer any longer. Rachel King, Fortune, 12 Nov. 2022 The best thing in the movie is Jeffrey Daniel Phillips’ performance as Herman, the milquetoast clown Frankenstein. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 29 Sep. 2022 The disarray is baffling for the audience, and downright punishing for Hart, whose lead character is forced to shape-shift between scenes, veering from milquetoast to petty to tyrannical to pushed-around. Amy Nicholson, Variety, 25 Aug. 2022 If the dark evolution of Coach Nate (Nick Mohammed) from sweet milquetoast to burgeoning supervillain has cooled the reception to the series’ second outing, Sam’s development could be the show’s new hope. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2022 Congress has in recent months only really been able to muster a milquetoast gun-control bill that does little to address the root causes of gun violence. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 5 July 2022 Foster met that challenge and then some, bringing a quirkier personality and spunk to a role that can often read as a milquetoast ingenue. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 7 June 2022 In fact, the Civic Sport sedan comes only with the most milquetoast of Civic powertrains: a 158-hp naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline-four paired with a CVT. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 27 May 2022 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 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.

Word History



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


from Caspar Milquetoast — more at milquetoast entry 1

First Known Use


1935, in the meaning defined above


1931, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of milquetoast was in 1931


Dictionary Entries Near milquetoast

Cite this Entry

“Milquetoast.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

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