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Molly Maguire

[muh-gwahyuh r]
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noun
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
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Origin of Molly Maguire

An Americanism dating back to 1865–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for molly maguire

Molly Maguire

noun
  1. Irish history a member of a secret society that terrorized law officers during the 1840s to prevent evictions
  2. (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
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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

Word Origin and History for molly maguire

Molly Maguire

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper