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[maw] /mɔ/
the mouth, throat, or gullet of an animal, especially a carnivorous mammal.
the crop or craw of a fowl.
the stomach, especially that of an animal.
a cavernous opening that resembles the open jaws of an animal:
the gaping maw of hell.
the symbolic or theoretical center of a voracious hunger or appetite of any kind:
the ravenous maw of Death.
Origin of maw1
before 900; Middle English mawe, Old English maga; cognate with Dutch maag, German Magen, Old Norse magi
Can be confused
mall, maul, maw.


[maw] /mɔ/
noun, Informal.
mother1 .
variant of ma Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for maw
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • maw'll have to feed him up with buttermilk and put drops into his coffee.

  • His eyes gleamed like two lamps and he was spitting fire and flame from his maw.

  • The kid tried to ketch the attention of maw, but she was sewing, and kept right along, just like he'd been around all day.

    Boy Scouts on a Long Hike Archibald Lee Fletcher
  • This year, for the first time, maw had consented to the aid of a "hired girl."

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
  • maw certified that it was—though I thought not quite so eagerly as her husband.

    They Call Me Carpenter Upton Sinclair
  • So it is, maw, and if this fellow had only realized it he'd have kept out of trouble.

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
British Dictionary definitions for maw


the mouth, throat, crop, or stomach of an animal, esp of a voracious animal
(informal) the mouth or stomach of a greedy person
Word Origin
Old English maga; related to Middle Dutch maghe, Old Norse magi
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 maw

Old English maga "stomach" (of men and animals; in Modern English only of animals unless insultingly), from Proto-Germanic *magon "bag, stomach" (cf. Old Frisian maga, Old Norse magi, Danish mave, Middle Dutch maghe, Dutch maag, Old High German mago, German Magen "stomach"), from PIE *mak- "leather bag" (cf. Welsh megin "bellows," Lithuanian makas, Old Church Slavonic mošina "bag, pouch"). Meaning "throat, gullet" is from 1520s. Metaphoric of voracity from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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