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Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Effusively or tearfully sentimental: "displayed an almost maudlin concern for the welfare of animals” ( Aldous Huxley). See Synonyms at sentimental.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Tearful; easily moved to tears; exciting to tears; excessively sentimental; weak and silly.
  • adj. Drunk, or somewhat drunk; fuddled; given to drunkenness.
  • n. An aromatic composite herb, the costmary; also, the South European Achillea Ageratum, a kind of yarrow.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Tearful; lacrymose; weeping.
  • Over-emotional; sickly-sentimental; foolishly gushing.
  • Tipsy; fuddled; foolish from drink.
  • n. A hardy herbaceous plant, Achillea Ageratum, a kind of milfoil, native to southern Europe, bearing yellow flowers. Also called sweet maudlin.
  • n. The costmary, Tanacetum Balsamita.

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

  • adj. effusively or insincerely emotional

Etymologies

Alteration of (Mary) Magdalene, who was frequently depicted as a tearful penitent.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English form of Mary Magdalene (typically depicted weeping), ultimately from Late Latin Magdalena. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Mary Magdalene inspires, these women say, because she was not a weakling -- the weeping Magdalene whose name begat the English word "maudlin" but a person of strength and character.

    The Bible's Lost Stories

  • They whined insolently, and in maudlin tones begged me for pennies, and worse.

    A Vision of the Night

  • The word maudlin (67), and the complicated mixed metaphor in which the gilded toy of line 68 apparently becomes a sweetmeat in 69, suggest that Shelley is subtly alluding to the Prince of Wales's sentimental love affair with the twice-widowed Maria Fitzherbert (1756-1837), a Roman Catholic whom he could not wed legally without forfeiting the crown.

    The Devil's Walk (Broadside version)

  • And being led and tempted on by this remorseful thought into a condition which the evil – minded class before referred to would term the maudlin state or stage of drunkenness, it occurred to Mr Swiveller to cast his hat upon the ground, and moan, crying aloud that he was an unhappy orphan, and that if he had not been an unhappy orphan things had never come to this.

    The Old Curiosity Shop

  • This thin volume of india-ink illustrations took the term maudlin up a notch and failed miserably to engage.

    Archive 2003-07-01

  • The word maudlin (67), and the complicated mixed metaphor in which the gilded toy of line 68 apparently becomes a sweetmeat in

    Annotations

  • And that done, Trenchard -- who affected the condition known as maudlin drunk -- must needs protest almost in tears how profound was his love for Richard, and insist that the boy return with him to the Bell Inn, that they might pledge each other.

    Mistress Wilding

  • Although the _Braave_ had vanished, she had left behind her a small legacy of annoyance for me; for while I was still searching the horizon for some sign of her continued existence I became aware of certain raucous sounds issuing from the forecastle, which I was quickly able to identify as the maudlin singing which seamen are so prone to indulge in when they are the worse for liquor.

    Overdue The Story of a Missing Ship

  • And being led and tempted on by this remorseful thought into a condition which the evil-minded class before referred to would term the maudlin state or stage of drunkenness, it occurred to Mr Swiveller to cast his hat upon the ground, and moan, crying aloud that he was an unhappy orphan, and that if he had not been an unhappy orphan things had never come to this.

    The Old Curiosity Shop

  • And being led and tempted on by this remorseful thought into a condition which the evil-minded class before referred to would term the maudlin state or stage of drunkenness, it occurred to Mr. Swiveller to cast his hat upon the ground, and moan, crying aloud that he was an unhappy orphan, and that if he had not been an unhappy orphan things had never come to this.

    Old Curiosity Shop

Comments

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  • Jim used this word with Bones when they were talking about the decomissioning ceremony.

    June 9, 2012

  • Maudlin doesn't gallop, it oozes. And when it want to get out, it suppurates.

    December 18, 2009

  • by far my favourite emotion, in fact it runs through Yugo veins--nay, gallops

    December 17, 2009

  • "We don’t want England to wait forever to pick him, but any notion that he’s some sort of magic jigsaw piece in the England puzzle is pure wishful thinking.
    That England jigsaw depicts a maudlin-looking man attempting to unblock a drain with his bare hands. No single jigsaw piece can make that image change into a snarling leopard’s face. At best the maudlin-looking man will end up with congealed soap on his hands, not shit."
    - King Cricket, Adil Rashid, Yorkshire – one to watch in 2009, kingcricket.co.uk, 8 April 2009.

    October 14, 2009

  • According to dictionary.com:
    1. tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental
    2. foolishly or mawkishly sentimental because of drunkenness.
    Not exactly 'false'???

    July 17, 2009

  • Derived from proper name "Maudelen" which in turn comes from Magdalene, as in Mary Magdalene.

    July 14, 2007

  • "it's absolutely maudlin outside." Velvet Underground, The Gift

    December 6, 2006