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See also: mòxiě and móxiě


Alternative forms[edit]


First recorded use in 1930. From the name of an American soft drink made since 1885 to which advertisement ascribed many beneficial properties directly but also indirectly by using the same name as a patent medicine first manufactured in 1878. Perhaps ultimately from Abenaki [Term?] (dark water).[1][2]



moxie (uncountable) (US, informal)

  1. Nerve, strength of character.
    Synonyms: spirit, backbone, determination, fortitude
  2. Verve.
    Synonyms: vigor, pep, energy, initiative
    • 1971, John Updike, Rabbit Redux, page 401:
      As a girl she had speed and a knock-kneed moxie at athletics, and might have done more with it if she hadn't harvested all the glory already.
    • 2011 January 29, Dan Povenmire as Building Engineer, “Rollercoaster: The Musical!”, in Phineas and Ferb, season 2, episode 38, “Aren't You a Little Young?” (song):
      Yes it's true! / That you seem a little young to do the things that you do, / even with all that moxie you've got.
  3. Wit, skill.
    Synonym: know-how

Usage notes[edit]

The word's origin as the name of a very popular product marketed as a cure-all for modern society's most common negative effects on daily life can be seen in that the word has very many different connotations but that these can be grouped into three meanings corresponding to "cures" for these common modern problems. The most typical negative feelings experienced due to the fast pace of modern society are probably those of being too weak in spirit or body or mind to deal with daily life, in other words, of being overwhelmed/helpless, exhausted/listless, or confused/perplexed. The word's original use for a cure-all can also be seen in that the word is often used with more than one of these meanings at a time.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


  1. ^ Moxie, website of the city of Lowell, Massachusetts
  2. ^ moxie” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.