Mawworm

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See also: mawworm

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The name of a character in the play The Hypocrite (1769) by Isaac Bickerstaffe, from maw-worm.

Noun[edit]

Mawworm (plural Mawworms)

  1. (now rare) A hypocrite.
    • 1853 - "Editor's letter box", Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal, vol.1 (new series), no.49, p.1090, 9 December 1853
      That there are a sufficient number of Mawworms and Cantwells in the profession, is abundantly proved by the number of signatures obtained to the petition against opening the Crystal Palace on Sundays.
    • 1862 - Punch, p.103, "Military mawormism", 15 March 1862
      So, according to this Mawworm, it is not the play itself but its being acted publicly that is so pernicious.
    • 1871–72, George Eliot, Middlemarch, Chapter 2
      He felt that he had chosen the one who was in all respects the superior; and a man naturally likes to look forward to having the best. He would be the very Mawworm of bachelors who pretended not to expect it.
    • 1986 - The Ottawa Citizen, p.E8, 12 December 1986
      Troublemakers come in splendid variety - from the catamaran, or quarrelsome scold, to the solopsist, or self-absorbed, self-referential me addict; from the blateroon, or compulsive chatterbox, to the mawworm, or pious, mealy-mouthed hypocrite.

Related terms[edit]

References[edit]

  • OED 2nd edition 1989
  • OED online 3rd edition 2010