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maul

[mawl]
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noun
  1. a heavy hammer, as for driving stakes or wedges.
  2. Archaic. a heavy club or mace.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to handle or use roughly: The book was badly mauled by its borrowers.
  2. to injure by a rough beating, shoving, or the like; bruise: to be mauled by an angry crowd.
  3. to split with a maul and wedge, as a wooden rail.
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Also mall.

Origin of maul

1200–50; (noun) Middle English malle < Old French mail mallet, hammer < Latin malleus hammer; (v.) Middle English mallen < Old French maillier, derivative of noun
Related formsmaul·er, nounun·mauled, adjective
Can be confusedmall maul maw
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for maul

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Would you have had the courage to swing the maul for the first blow if you had seen that bulkhead?

    Lord Jim

    Joseph Conrad

  • A smart rap on the head with the maul and he came into the dory quietly.

    The Harbor of Doubt

    Frank Williams

  • I met him with a maul, and parried his blow, or I should have then lost my life.

    My Bondage and My Freedom

    Frederick Douglass

  • It was at last young Maul's time to speak and he arose, slightly nervous.

    The Hindered Hand

    Sutton E. Griggs

  • By gracious, I feel that if some one would plow for me I'd let him maul me until he got tired.

    The Jucklins

    Opie Read


British Dictionary definitions for maul

maul

verb (tr)
  1. to handle clumsily; paw
  2. to batter or lacerate
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noun
  1. a heavy two-handed hammer suitable for driving piles, wedges, etc
  2. rugby a loose scrum that forms around a player who is holding the ball and on his feet
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Derived Formsmauler, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old French mail, from Latin malleus hammer. See mallet
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

Word Origin and History for maul

v.

mid-13c., meallen "strike with a heavy weapon," from Middle English mealle (mid-13c.) "mace, wooden club, heavy hammer" (see maul (n.). The meaning "damage seriously, mangle" is first recorded 1690s. Related: Mauled; mauling.

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n.

c.1200, mealle, "hammer, usually a heavy one; sledgehammer," from Old French mail "hammer," from Latin malleus "hammer" (see mallet).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper