9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[mawd-lin] /ˈmɔd lɪn/
tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental:
a maudlin story of a little orphan and her lost dog.
foolishly or mawkishly sentimental because of drunkenness.
Origin of maudlin
1500-10; special use of Maudlin, Middle English MaudelenLate Latin Magdalēnē < Greek Magdalēnḗ Mary Magdalene, portrayed in art as a weeping penitent
Related forms
maudlinism, noun
maudlinly, adverb
maudlinness, noun
unmaudlin, adjective
unmaudlinly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for maudlin
  • It was a maudlin lyric about a girl who wanted to buy her boyfriend a dog to remember her by.
  • Reviewers have compared the results to soap opera — maudlin and superficial but also insightful and addictive.
  • If not for his charm and quick wit, this film could easily lapse into slick sentimentality and maudlin predictability.
  • This is not a man given to making himself the center of a maudlin or glorious saga.
  • He has a very crude sense of humor, indicated by his obsession with toilet jokes, and an irrepressible maudlin streak.
  • Chaplin, he was never sentimental and he never resorted to maudlin pathos.
  • This new biography of Dickens waddles along like a maudlin elephant that has attached itself to us against our will.
  • The book version could easily have been a maudlin celebrity tie-in, sugar-coated with inspiration and soggy with tears.
  • Put your maudlin preoccupations in a box and drop it in a landfill.
  • Friends came by on maudlin visits.
British Dictionary definitions for maudlin


foolishly tearful or sentimental, as when drunk
Derived Forms
maudlinism, noun
maudlinly, adverb
maudlinness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Middle English Maudelen Mary Magdalene, typically portrayed as a tearful penitent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for maudlin

c.1600, "tearful," from Middle English fem. proper name Maudelen (early 14c.), from Magdalene (Old French Madelaine), woman's name, originally surname of Mary the repentant sinner forgiven by Jesus in Luke vii:37 (see Magdalene). In paintings, she often was shown weeping as a sign of repentance. Meaning "characterized by tearful sentimentality" is recorded by 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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