Neefer Sews, Crochets, Crafts, Swims, and Blathers about Kids

Acorns to Oaktrees

September 4th, 2009 at 7:30 am

Mawkish – Sentimental like a maggot.

in: General

When I first saw this word in my A.W.A.D e-mail, I thought, hey, that’s a good word to describe me. Then I saw the part about the maggots.

I dunno; am I’m nauseatingly sentimental? slightly nauseatingly? insipidly?

Does “weakly emotional” mean the same as “sickly sentimental” mean the same as maudlin? I didn’t think so. I always thought maudlin implied sadness. Sickly sentimental is sentimental in an nauseatingly sweet manner which sounds like mawkish to me. I don’t know what they mean by weakly emotional.

Bathetic was a new word for me. While I have heard of bathos, like pathos, I didn’t know what it meant, so I had to look bathos up, too.

I looked up mawk and mawke, but mawke isn’t in the dictionary, and mawk is a programming term, probably has something to do with awk. Mawky means maggoty.

So I don’t think I’ll start using mawkish to describe myself.


PRONUNCIATION: (MAW-kish)1 /ˈmɔkɪʃ/2 (mô’kĭsh)3


  1. Excessively sentimental, especially in a false or childish manner. 1
  2. Having a nauseating taste or smell. 1
  3. Characterized by sickly sentimentality; weakly emotional; maudlin 2
  4. Having a mildly sickening flavor; slightly nauseating.
  5. Excessively and objectionably sentimental.3
  6. Sickening or insipid in taste.


  • From Middle English mawke (maggot). Are maggots sentimental? We don’t know, but the secondary sense of the word mawkish derives from the disgust we feel at the sight of the insect. By extension the word began to refer to something sickeningly sentimental. 1
  • 1660–70; obs. mawk maggot (late ME < ON mathkr maggot) + -ish2
  • 1668, sickly, nauseated, from M.E. mawke “maggot”; sense of “sickly sentimental” is first recorded 1702.3

sentimental, teary, bathetic, drippy, hokey, maudlin, mushy


  1. Wordsmith
  2. Random House Dictionary
  3. American Heritage® Dictionary

Category: General Tags: ,

« || »

Comments are closed.

  • Historical Adventures of Neefer

    January 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Apr    
  • Archives

  • My latest uploads to Flickr

  • Follow me

  • Connect with me