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Molly Maguire

[muh-gwahyuh r] /məˈgwaɪər/
Irish History. a member of a secret terrorist society organized in Ireland in 1843 to prevent evictions by the government: so called because the members disguised themselves as women.
U.S. History. a member of a former secret association, organized about 1865, that terrorized the mine operators' agents in an effort to get relief from oppressive conditions in the anthracite coal-mining regions of Pennsylvania: ceased to function about 1877.
Origin of Molly Maguire
An Americanism dating back to 1865-70 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Molly Maguire
Historical Examples
  • He got up that Molly Maguire series for the new cleaning fluid.

    The "Genius" Theodore Dreiser
  • Molly Maguire was there, and all her children around her, gaping.

    The Case of Jennie Brice Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • I dare say the next flood will find it in Molly Maguire's kitchen.

    The Case of Jennie Brice Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • And yet it was curious, too, for if she had had it on, how did it get loose to go floating around Molly Maguire's yard?

    The Case of Jennie Brice Mary Roberts Rinehart
British Dictionary definitions for Molly Maguire

Molly Maguire

/ˈmɒlɪ məˈɡwaɪə/
(Irish history) a member of a secret society that terrorized law officers during the 1840s to prevent evictions
(in Pennsylvania from about 1865 to 1877) a member of a society of miners that terrorized mine owners and their agents in an effort to obtain better pay
Word Origin
C19: the name refers to the female disguise adopted by members of these societies
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 Molly Maguire

secret society in the mining districts of Pennsylvania, 1867 (suppressed 1876); named for earlier secret society formed in Ireland (1843) to resist payment of rents. From Molly (see Moll) + common Irish surname Maguire. Memebers were said to sometimes wear women's clothing as disguise.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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