[ muhg-wuhmp ]
/ ˈmʌgˌwʌmp /


a Republican who refused to support the party nominee, James G. Blaine, in the presidential campaign of 1884.
a person who is unable to make up his or her mind on an issue, especially in politics; a person who is neutral on a controversial issue.

Nearby words

  1. muggy,
  2. mughal,
  3. mugho pine,
  4. mugshot,
  5. mugwort,
  6. mugwumps,
  7. muhajirun,
  8. muhammad,
  9. muhammad ahmed,
  10. muhammad ali

Origin of mugwump

1830–35, Americanism; artificial 19th-cent. revival of Massachusett (E spelling) mugquomp, syncopated form of muggumquomp war leader (equivalent to Proto-Algonquian *memekw- perhaps, swift + *-a·pe·w man)

Related formsmug·wump·er·y, mug·wump·ism, nounmug·wump·i·an, adjectivemug·wump·ish, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mugwump

British Dictionary definitions for mugwump


/ (ˈmʌɡˌwʌmp) /


US a neutral or independent person, esp in politics
Derived Formsmugwumpery or mugwumpism, nounmugwumpish, adjective

Word Origin for mugwump

C19: from Algonquian: great chief, from mogki great + -omp man

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 mugwump



1832, jocular for "great man, boss, important person," American English, from Algonquian (Natick) mugquomp "important person" (derived from mugumquomp "war leader"); used from 1884 of Republicans who refused to support James G. Blaine's presidential candidacy, hence "one who holds himself aloof from party politics."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper