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Etymology 1[edit]

mash +‎ -er


masher (plural mashers)

  1. One who, or that which, mashes.
  2. (brewing) A machine for making mash.

Etymology 2[edit]

Either[1][2] by analogy with[3] masher (one who presses, softens), or more likely from Romani[4] masha (a fascinator, an enticer), mashdva (fascination, enticement). Originally used in theater,[5] and recorded in US in 1870s. Either originally borrowed as masher, from masha, or from mash +‎ -er. Leland writes of its etymology:

It was introduced by the well-known gypsy family of actors, C., among whom Romany was habitually spoken. The word “masher” or “mash” means in that tongue to allure, delude, or entice. It was doubtless much aided in its popularity by its quasi-identity with the English word. But there can be no doubt as to the gypsy origin of “mash” as used on the stage. I am indebted for this information to the late well-known impresario [Albert Marshall] Palmer of New York, and I made a note of it years before the term had become at all popular.[6]


masher (plural mashers)

  1. a man who makes often unwelcome advances to women
    • around 1900, O. Henry, The Ferry of Unfulfilment
      "Oh, gee!" remarked the Girl from Sieber-Mason's, glancing up with the most capable coolness. "Ain't there any way to ever get rid of you mashers? I've tried everything from eating onions to using hatpins. Be on your way, Freddie."
  2. a fashionable man, a dandy, a fop
  3. (rare) A man who molests women, as in a subway.
Related terms[edit]
  1. ^ Mash Note at World Wide Words
  2. ^ The City in Slang, by Irving L. Allen, p. 195
  3. ^ The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology, as cited at The Grammarphobia Blog: Mash notes, March 16, 2007
  4. ^ Charles Godfrey Leland in The Gypsies, p. 109, footnote 108; and preface to his poem “The Masher”, where he credits the etymology to [Albert Marshall] Palmer, a Broadway producer.
  5. ^ Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang
  6. ^ Preface to poem “The Masher”, in his Songs of the Sea and Lays of the Land, p. 243 (full text)