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[mawd-lin] /ˈmɔd lɪn/
tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental:
a maudlin story of a little orphan and her lost dog.
foolishly or mawkishly sentimental because of drunkenness.
Origin of maudlin
1500-10; special use of Maudlin, Middle English MaudelenLate Latin Magdalēnē < Greek Magdalēnḗ Mary Magdalene, portrayed in art as a weeping penitent
Related forms
maudlinism, noun
maudlinly, adverb
maudlinness, noun
unmaudlin, adjective
unmaudlinly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for maudlin
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The world has been degenerating into a maudlin state of sentiment for some years.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
  • So was he above the maudlin sentiment of the "great lovers of noble histories."

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • "And are damned for a croaking, maudlin' craven," added Joseph.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
  • "Ill-fated, indeed, an all accounts be true," returned Crispin in a maudlin voice.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
  • He is probably an edifying spectacle by this time, a mush of maudlin penitence.

    The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray
British Dictionary definitions for maudlin


foolishly tearful or sentimental, as when drunk
Derived Forms
maudlinism, noun
maudlinly, adverb
maudlinness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Middle English Maudelen Mary Magdalene, typically portrayed as a tearful penitent
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 maudlin

c.1600, "tearful," from Middle English fem. proper name Maudelen (early 14c.), from Magdalene (Old French Madelaine), woman's name, originally surname of Mary the repentant sinner forgiven by Jesus in Luke vii:37 (see Magdalene). In paintings, she often was shown weeping as a sign of repentance. Meaning "characterized by tearful sentimentality" is recorded by 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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