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See also: Maudlin


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From Middle English Maudelen, a dialectal form of Mary Magdalene (typically depicted weeping), from Old French Madelaine, from Late Latin Magdalena.



maudlin (plural maudlins)

  1. (obsolete, Christianity) The Magdalene; Mary Magdalene. [14th–16th c.]
    • c. 1400, Nicholas Love (trans.), The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ:
      for alle they worſchipden hir ſouereynly / as worthy was / but ſpecially Mawdelayne / that wolde neuere departe fro hir.
  2. (historical) Either of two aromatic plants, costmary or sweet yarrow. [from 15th c.]
    • 1653, Nicholas Culpeper, The English Physician Enlarged, Folio Society 2007, p. 186:
      Common Maudlin have somewhat long and narrow leaves, snipped about the edges.
  3. (obsolete) A Magdalene house; a brothel. [17th c.]


maudlin (comparative more maudlin, superlative most maudlin)

  1. Affectionate or sentimental in an effusive, tearful, or foolish manner, especially because of drunkenness. [from 17th c.]
    Synonyms: mushy, sappy, schmaltzy, soupy, slushy; see also Thesaurus:drunk
  2. Extravagantly or excessively sentimental; mawkish, self-pitying. [from 17th c.]
    Synonyms: emotional, overwrought, soppy, larmoyant, mournful, plaintful, teary, weepy; see also Thesaurus:sad
    • 1949, Henry Miller, Sexus (The Rosy Crucifixion), Grove Press, published 1965, →ISBN, page 105:
      To cap it all I had written a letter to Mara saying that we had to find a way out soon or I would commit suicide. It must have been a maudlin letter because when she telephoned me she said it was imperative to see me immediately.
    • 1961, CS Lewis, A Grief Observed
      On the rebound one passes into tears and pathos. Maudlin tears. I almost prefer the moments of agony. These are at least clean and honest. But the bath of self-pity, the wallow, the loathsome sticky-sweet pleasure of indulging it — that disgusts me.
  3. (obsolete) Tearful, lachrymose. [17th–19th c.]