- 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.
- 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.
Origin of Molly Maguire
- Irish history a member of a secret society that terrorized law officers during the 1840s to prevent evictions
- (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
Word Origin for Molly Maguire
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.