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[mawl] /mɔl/
a heavy hammer, as for driving stakes or wedges.
Archaic. a heavy club or mace.
verb (used with object)
to handle or use roughly:
The book was badly mauled by its borrowers.
to injure by a rough beating, shoving, or the like; bruise:
to be mauled by an angry crowd.
to split with a maul and wedge, as a wooden rail.
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 forms
mauler, noun
unmauled, adjective
Can be confused
mall, maul, maw. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for mauling
Historical Examples
  • Only three of 'em, but they're all over the place—climbing on you, mauling you, tripping you up.

    Torchy and Vee Sewell Ford
  • I wondered what men were beneath it and what mauling they were receiving.

  • Lying on my cushions, mauling my things, running my engine for all I know.

    From the Car Behind

    Eleanor M. Ingram
  • And it was only after months of suffering that Williams finally recovered from the mauling.

    In Africa

    John T. McCutcheon
  • Had they but known it, he despised them too greatly to think of mauling them.

  • If you do not soon disappear from here, my friend, you may come in for some mauling.

    Amphitryon Moliere
  • Then he took it to the bank in shallow water, mauling it about, biting and gnawing at it.

    The Grizzly Enos A. Mills
  • The House of Commons goes on in mauling the late Ministry and their proceedings.

    The Journal to Stella Jonathan Swift
  • Sadly she missed the petting and the mauling of the children.

    Buff: A Collie and other dog-stories Albert Payson Terhune
  • The boy had leaped from the sled and was mauling the rough coat playfully.

    Connie Morgan in Alaska James B. Hendryx
British Dictionary definitions for mauling


verb (transitive)
to handle clumsily; paw
to batter or lacerate
a heavy two-handed hammer suitable for driving piles, wedges, etc
(rugby) a loose scrum that forms around a player who is holding the ball and on his feet
Derived Forms
mauler, 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
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Word Origin and History for mauling



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.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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