from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Nautical, the visiting and carousing of seamen in the Greenland ships.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun archaic, nautical carousing on icebound Greenland whaling ships.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Apparently from a confusion of two similar Dutch words. The first of these is the obsolete mallemerok a “foolish woman”, from malle, foolish, plus marok, from French marotte, an object of foolish affection; a “bauble”. The second word mallemok is a name for some persons among the crew of a whaling vessel.


  • For example, "mallemaroking" — a word meaning the "carousing of seamen in ice-bound ships."

    Defined Intervention

  • One of my favourites is "mallemaroking"; for a great collection of peculiar words with discussions of etymology and usage, check out Michael Quinion's


  • Without Chambers, the genealogist would be left to wonder why her great-grandfather was set adrift by Admiral Peary for being a "mallemaroking jobernowl."

    Defined Intervention

  • [Stedman's Medical Dictionary, Baltimore] mallemaroking ... carousing of seamen in icebound ships.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XIX No 2


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The behavior of drunken sailors on icebound ships.

    February 1, 2008

  • Mallemaroking - the carousing of seamen in icebound ships. A wonderfully useful word! How many icebound ships do we all know?

    (Sue H, Tiverton)

    frindley thinks c_b may be able to give this word a home as well…

    October 15, 2008

  • I saw this the other day, I think... Is it Newfoundlandese? Not in my Dictionary of Newfoundland English, but I know I've seen this before... Different spelling?

    October 15, 2008

  • Apparently it derived from the Dutch for "foolish" or "silly," and an 1812 citation spells it "mallemuching." Does that look familiar, c_b?

    October 15, 2008

  • Not quite. Gah!

    October 15, 2008

  • Gah?

    October 15, 2008

  • Gah! I learn words and then forget them two days later!

    October 15, 2008

  • Gah!

    October 16, 2008

  • I take it "gah" is a delightful ejaculation.

    But I thought this had something to do with French New Wave films set in Morocco.

    October 16, 2008

  • Sadly, no, rolig. Well, it's delightful to ejaculate thus, but it generally indicates frustration. In a comic way.

    October 16, 2008