[ mawl ]
See synonyms for maul on
  1. a heavy hammer, as for driving stakes or wedges.

  2. Archaic. a heavy club or mace.

verb (used with object)
  1. to handle or use roughly: The book was badly mauled by its borrowers.

  2. to injure by a rough beating, shoving, or the like; bruise: to be mauled by an angry crowd.

  1. to split with a maul and wedge, as a wooden rail.

Origin of maul

First recorded in 1200–50; (noun) Middle English malle, from Old French mail “mallet, hammer,” from Latin malleus “hammer”; (verb) Middle English mallen, from Old French maillier, derivative of noun

Other words from maul

  • maul·er, noun

Words that may be confused with maul Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use maul in a sentence

  • Ben Affleck, still feeling his oats on a Sunday morning, mauls a lovely French journalist and suggests she do the show topless.

    When Celebs Get Wasted | Gina Piccalo | December 4, 2010 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • Who in the gutter caterwauls, squalls, mauls Some feline foe, and screams in shrill ill-will.

  • It isn't the slightest interest to the team whether some one whales you or mauls you!

    The Varmint | Owen Johnson
  • Ditto, mauls and mullers of slag for grinding chili and other ingredients of the sauce known as kithl-ko-se.

  • The mastiff mauls the bundle clumsily and gluts himself with growling greed, crunching the bones.

    Ulysses | James Joyce
  • As the heavy strokes of the mauls fell he glanced over the faces of the onlookers.

    The Law-Breakers | Ridgwell Cullum

British Dictionary definitions for maul


/ (mɔːl) /

  1. to handle clumsily; paw

  2. to batter or lacerate

  1. a heavy two-handed hammer suitable for driving piles, wedges, etc

  2. rugby a loose scrum that forms around a player who is holding the ball and on his feet

Origin of maul

C13: from Old French mail, from Latin malleus hammer. See mallet

Derived forms of maul

  • mauler, noun

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