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[maw] /mɔ/
the mouth, throat, or gullet of an animal, especially a carnivorous mammal.
the crop or craw of a fowl.
the stomach, especially that of an animal.
a cavernous opening that resembles the open jaws of an animal:
the gaping maw of hell.
the symbolic or theoretical center of a voracious hunger or appetite of any kind:
the ravenous maw of Death.
Origin of maw1
before 900; Middle English mawe, Old English maga; cognate with Dutch maag, German Magen, Old Norse magi
Can be confused
mall, maul, maw.


[maw] /mɔ/
noun, Informal.
mother1 .
variant of ma Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for maws
Historical Examples
  • O, sir, have a good stomach and maws; you shall have a joyful supper.

  • He saw many salmon leaping, and found them in the maws of cod.

    Alaska Ella Higginson
  • My brethren, will ye suffocate in the fumes of their maws and appetites!

    Thus Spake Zarathustra Friedrich Nietzsche
  • He brandished the shovel with which he had been shamefully forced to feed the maws of the furnaces.

    The Portal of Dreams Charles Neville Buck
  • Guess Ive got maws fool in a fuss, he said grimly to himself as he braced his body for a struggle.

    Mason of Bar X Ranch Henry Bennett
  • We always find a great many shells in their maws, crushed in pieces.

  • I have often found it, he adds, in the maws of the bonito, between the tropics in the Pacific Ocean.

    Parasites T. Spencer Cobbold
  • Those who formed it have found bloody graves, or a ghastlier burial in the maws of wolves.

  • If charnel-houses and our graves must send Those that we bury back, our monuments Shall be the maws of kites.

    Cruel As The Grave Mrs. Emma D. E. N. Southworth
  • You see Teacher makes 'em all come on moonlight nights; the paws and maws, and the gran'paws and gran'maws, too.

    Kildares of Storm

    Eleanor Mercein Kelly
British Dictionary definitions for maws


the mouth, throat, crop, or stomach of an animal, esp of a voracious animal
(informal) the mouth or stomach of a greedy person
Word Origin
Old English maga; related to Middle Dutch maghe, Old Norse magi
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 maws



Old English maga "stomach" (of men and animals; in Modern English only of animals unless insultingly), from Proto-Germanic *magon "bag, stomach" (cf. Old Frisian maga, Old Norse magi, Danish mave, Middle Dutch maghe, Dutch maag, Old High German mago, German Magen "stomach"), from PIE *mak- "leather bag" (cf. Welsh megin "bellows," Lithuanian makas, Old Church Slavonic mošina "bag, pouch"). Meaning "throat, gullet" is from 1520s. Metaphoric of voracity from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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