tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental: a maudlin story of a little orphan and her lost dog.
foolishly or mawkishly sentimental because of drunkenness.

Origin of maudlin

1500–10; special use of Maudlin, Middle English MaudelenLate Latin Magdalēnē < Greek Magdalēnḗ Mary Magdalene, portrayed in art as a weeping penitent
Related formsmaud·lin·ism, nounmaud·lin·ly, adverbmaud·lin·ness, nounun·maud·lin, adjectiveun·maud·lin·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for maudlin

Contemporary Examples of maudlin

Historical Examples of maudlin

  • The world has been degenerating into a maudlin state of sentiment for some years.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • So was he above the maudlin sentiment of the "great lovers of noble histories."

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • "Ill-fated, indeed, an all accounts be true," returned Crispin in a maudlin voice.

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • "And are damned for a croaking, maudlin' craven," added Joseph.

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • He is probably an edifying spectacle by this time, a mush of maudlin penitence.

    The Dominant Strain

    Anna Chapin Ray

British Dictionary definitions for maudlin



foolishly tearful or sentimental, as when drunk
Derived Formsmaudlinism, nounmaudlinly, adverbmaudlinness, noun

Word Origin for maudlin

C17: from Middle English Maudelen Mary Magdalene, typically portrayed as a tearful penitent
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 maudlin

c.1600, "tearful," from Middle English fem. proper name Maudelen (early 14c.), from Magdalene (Old French Madelaine), woman's name, originally surname of Mary the repentant sinner forgiven by Jesus in Luke vii:37 (see Magdalene). In paintings, she often was shown weeping as a sign of repentance. Meaning "characterized by tearful sentimentality" is recorded by 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper