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[muh-til-duh] /məˈtɪl də/
noun, Australian.
swag2 (def 2).
Origin of matilda
First recorded in 1890-95; special use of proper name Matilda


[muh-til-duh; for 3 also Italian mah-teel-dah] /məˈtɪl də; for 3 also Italian mɑˈtil dɑ/
Also called Maud. 1102–67, empress of the Holy Roman Empire 1114–25; queen of England 1141 (daughter of Henry I of England).
Military. a 26½-ton British tank of early World War II, having a crew of four and armed with a 40mm gun.
Also, Matilde
[muh-til-duh; French ma-teeld; Italian mah-teel-de] /məˈtɪl də; French maˈtild; Italian mɑˈtil dɛ/ (Show IPA)
. a female given name. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for matilda
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • matilda, however, filled this post for one year only, as she died in 1299.

  • matilda drew up her head and flattened her back, and then asked her grandmamma how she did.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • Much more might yet be said of matilda as a writer and a poet.

  • matilda acknowledged that she should like to be ill in the daytime.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • matilda became in every sense the consort of William, and thus marked a forward step for the womanhood of the country.

    Women of England, Volume 9 (of 10) Burleigh James Bartlett
British Dictionary definitions for matilda


noun (Austral, informal)
a bushman's swag
waltz Matilda, walk Matilda, to travel the road carrying one's swag
Word Origin
C20: from the Christian name


known as the Empress Maud. 1102–67, only daughter of Henry I of England and wife of Geoffrey of Anjou. After her father's death (1135) she unsuccessfully waged a civil war with Stephen for the English throne; her son succeeded as Henry II
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for matilda


fem. proper name, from French Mathilde, of Germanic origin, literally "mighty in battle;" cf. Old High German Mahthilda, from mahti "might, power" + hildi "battle," from Proto-Germanic *hildiz "battle," from PIE *kel- (1) "to strike, cut." The name also was late 19c. Australian slang for "a traveller's bundle or swag," hence the expression waltzing Matilda "to travel on foot" (by 1889).

In my electorate nearly every man you meet who is not "waltzing Matilda" rides a bicycle. ["Parliamentary Debates," Australia, 1907]
The lyrics of the song of that name, sometimes called the unofficial Australian national anthem, are said to date to 1893.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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