Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A kitchen utensil for mashing vegetables or fruit.
  • noun Slang A man who habitually makes aggressive, unwelcome sexual advances to women.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An apparatus for preparing the mash for the distillation of potato spirits. Ure, Dict.
  • noun One who or that which mashes or crushes; a crusher.
  • noun One whose dress or manners are such as to impress strongly the fancy or elicit the admiration of susceptible young women; a fop; a “dude”; a “lady-killer.”

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who, or that which, mashes; also (Brewing), a machine for making mash.
  • noun Slang A charmer of women.

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

  • noun One who, or that which, mashes.
  • noun brewing A machine for making mash.
  • noun a man who makes often unwelcome advances to women
  • noun a fashionable man, a dandy, a fop
  • noun rare A man who molests women, as in a subway.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a kitchen utensil used for mashing (e.g. potatoes)
  • noun a man who is aggressive in making amorous advances to women

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

mash +‎ -er

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Either by analogy with masher ("one who presses, softens"), or more likely from Romani masha ("a fascinator, an enticer"), mashdva ("fascination, enticement"). Originally used in theater, and recorded in US in 1870s. Either originally borrowed as masher, from masha, or from mash +‎ -er. Leland writes of the etymology:

Examples

  • The platoon was making a flank job on this hillside, and when I looked up, I saw a Nip with a potato masher, which is a hand grenade, and he was heaving it.

    Into the Rising Sun

  • If the creature presumes to hang about the stage door, a word of complaint to the manager will be sufficient; the "masher" will at once "take notice" of some other door and probably of some other actress.

    Stage Confidences

  • The "masher" is an impertinence, a nuisance; but never, dear madam, never a danger.

    Stage Confidences

  • Of course, now and again, at long, long intervals, a man really falls in love with a woman whom he has seen only upon the stage; but no "masher" proceedings are taken in such cases.

    Stage Confidences

  • And Ephraim was the "masher" of the country neighborhood.

    The Old Hanging Fork and Other Poems

  • No more vulgar term exists than "masher," and it is a distinct comfort to find Webster ascribing the origin of the word to England's reckless fun-maker, -- _Punch_.

    Stage Confidences

  • A refined girl would never put herself in a position requiring such drastic measures; but it is, I think, to these reckless young wretches, and a few silly, sentimental simpletons who permit themselves to be drawn into a mawkish correspondence with perfect strangers, that we really owe the continued existence of the stage-door "masher," who wishes to be mistaken for a member of the

    Stage Confidences

  • But so far as the stage "masher" is concerned, dear and anxious mamma, auntie, or sister, don't worry about the safety of your actress to be.

    Stage Confidences

  • The last clipping recounted how an irate husband pounded a "masher" so hard that he died.

    Courts and Criminals

  • The sight of this empty-headed dandified "masher" embittered me, and I reminded him rather brutally of ten shilling he had borrowed from me.

    Hunger

Comments

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  • "People remember his old father driving into town in his own carriage; indeed, they remembered Tom Devereux himslef as a bit of a masher, smoking a cigar and wearing a new flower in his buttonhole every day."

    - Frank O'Connor, 'The Miser'.

    September 6, 2008