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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 maws
Historical Examples
  • I have often found it, he adds, in the maws of the bonito, between the tropics in the Pacific Ocean.

    Parasites T. Spencer Cobbold
  • O, sir, have a good stomach and maws; you shall have a joyful supper.

  • If charnel-houses and our graves must send Those that we bury back, our monuments Shall be the maws of kites.

    Cruel As The Grave Mrs. Emma D. E. N. Southworth
  • We always find a great many shells in their maws, crushed in pieces.

  • He saw many salmon leaping, and found them in the maws of cod.

    Alaska Ella Higginson
  • Those who formed it have found bloody graves, or a ghastlier burial in the maws of wolves.

  • You see Teacher makes 'em all come on moonlight nights; the paws and maws, and the gran'paws and gran'maws, too.

    Kildares of Storm Eleanor Mercein Kelly
  • They all stood on the porch and watched him as far as they could see; and maws black mood didnt return for a whole week.

  • Guess Ive got maws fool in a fuss, he said grimly to himself as he braced his body for a struggle.

    Mason of Bar X Ranch Henry Bennett
  • It got all dampthe letter, foreign postmark, stamp and allby the time he put it into maws hand.

British Dictionary definitions for maws


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 maws



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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Related Abbreviations for maws


missile approach warning system
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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