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From Middle English magot, magotte, probably Anglo-Norman alteration of maddock ‎(worm", "maggot), originally a diminutive form of a base represented by Old English maþa (Scots mathe), from common Proto-Germanic root *mathon-, from the Proto-Indo-European root *math-, which was used in insect names, equivalent to made +‎ -ock. Near-cognates include Dutch made, German Made and Swedish mask. The use of maggot to mean a fanciful or whimsical thing derives from the folk belief that a whimsical or crotchety person had maggots in his or her brain.



maggot ‎(plural maggots)

  1. A soft, legless larva of a fly or other dipterous insect, that often eats decomposing organic matter.
  2. (derogatory) A worthless person.
    Drop and give me fifty, maggot.
  3. (obsolete) A whimsy or fancy.
    Mr. Beveridge's Maggot, an old country dance [1].
    • 1620, John Fletcher, Women Pleased, III.iv.
      Are you not mad, my friend? What time o' th' moon is't? / Have not you maggots in your brain?


  • (soft legless larva): grub

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