the mouth, throat, or gullet of an animal, especially a carnivorous mammal.
the crop or craw of a fowl.
the stomach, especially that of an animal.
a cavernous opening that resembles the open jaws of an animal: the gaping maw of hell.
the symbolic or theoretical center of a voracious hunger or appetite of any kind: the ravenous maw of Death.

Origin of maw

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



noun Informal.

Origin of maw

variant of ma Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for maws

craw, gullet, crop, jaws

Examples from the Web for maws

Historical Examples of maws

  • O, sir, have a good stomach and maws; you shall have a joyful supper.

  • He saw many salmon leaping, and found them in the maws of cod.


    Ella Higginson

  • My brethren, will ye suffocate in the fumes of their maws and appetites!

    Thus Spake Zarathustra

    Friedrich Nietzsche

  • He brandished the shovel with which he had been shamefully forced to feed the maws of the furnaces.

    The Portal of Dreams

    Charles Neville Buck

  • Guess Ive got maws fool in a fuss, he said grimly to himself as he braced his body for a struggle.

British Dictionary definitions for maws



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

Word Origin for maw

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 maws



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper