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See more synonyms for maw on Thesaurus.com
  1. the mouth, throat, or gullet of an animal, especially a carnivorous mammal.
  2. the crop or craw of a fowl.
  3. the stomach, especially that of an animal.
  4. a cavernous opening that resembles the open jaws of an animal: the gaping maw of hell.
  5. the symbolic or theoretical center of a voracious hunger or appetite of any kind: the ravenous maw of Death.
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Origin of maw1

before 900; Middle English mawe, Old English maga; cognate with Dutch maag, German Magen, Old Norse magi
Can be confusedmall maul maw


noun Informal.
  1. mother1.
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Origin of maw2

variant of ma
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for maw


  1. the mouth, throat, crop, or stomach of an animal, esp of a voracious animal
  2. informal the mouth or stomach of a greedy person
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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

Word Origin and History for maw


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper