Definitions

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

  • noun A trinket or piece of bric-a-brac; a knick-knack, often used in regifting.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English māþum ("treasure, object of value, jewel, ornament, gift"), from Proto-Germanic *maiþmaz (“present, gift”), from Proto-Indo-European *moyt-, *meyt- (“to exchange”), from Proto-Indo-European *mey- (“to exchange, swap”). Cognate with Gothic 𐌼𐌰𐌹𐌸𐌼𐍃 (maithms, "gift, present"), Latin mūtō ("change, exchange, barter"). The word survived into Middle English as mathem, madme ("treasure"), but became obsolete thereafter. It was revived by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings.

Examples

Comments

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  • "Anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away, they called a mathom. Their dwellings were apt to become rather crowded with mathoms, and many of the presents that passed from hand to hand were of that sort."

    ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

    February 9, 2008

  • Wow. I have a lot of mathoms in my house, too.

    February 9, 2008

  • i imagine it sort of like tribbles, just multiplying exponentially over and under and tucked away inside of.. a far more toothsome word than clutter, to my mind. : )

    February 9, 2008

  • So that's it then. Now I understand. My bride is a Hobbit.

    February 9, 2008

  • Haha! Better check out her feet. ;-)

    Sort of trinket-y rather than cluttery, julia?

    February 9, 2008

  • yes, i think so reesetee, indeed. though i think it could be anything, even furniture; a tolkien scholar can correct me on that.. and i'm glad it was you that made the foot joke, now gangerh won't get mad at me... ; )

    February 9, 2008

  • I will. As soon as they hit the pillow.

    I did check them ante-nuptial and I noticed they reached the ground. Isn't that the most important thing?

    February 9, 2008

  • Is someone who understands all these things and can track them all and calculate their properties called a mathomatician?

    February 9, 2008

  • The vast underground chamber where I store all my mathoms has got a high cavernous roof, and it's stuffed to bursting. To put it another way, I've got fathoms o' mathoms.

    February 9, 2008

  • That's what I always say, gangerh--at least they reach the ground. :-)

    February 10, 2008