Definitions

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

  • n. The mouth, stomach, jaws, or gullet of a voracious animal, especially a carnivore.
  • n. The opening into something felt to be insatiable: "I saw the opening maw of hell” ( Herman Melville).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Mother.
  • n. the stomach, especially of an animal
  • n. the upper digestive tract (where food enters the body), especially the mouth and jaws of a ravenous creature.
  • n. any great, insatiable or perilous opening.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A gull.
  • n. A stomach; the receptacle into which food is taken by swallowing; in birds, the craw; -- now used only of the lower animals, exept humorously or in contempt.
  • n. Appetite; inclination.
  • n. An old game at cards.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The stomach: now used of human beings only in contempt, and rarely of animals.
  • n. The crop or craw of a fowl.
  • n. The sound or air-bladder of a fish.
  • n. Stomach; appetite; inclination.
  • A dialectal (Scotch) form of mow.
  • n. A dialectal (Scotch) form of mew.
  • n. An old game at cards, played with a piquet pack of thirty-six cards by any number of persons from two to six.

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

  • n. informal terms for the mouth

Etymologies

Middle English mawe, from Old English maga.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
By shortening of mother (Wiktionary)
From Middle English mawe, from Old English maga ("stomach, maw"), from Proto-Germanic *magô (“belly, stomach”), from Proto-Indo-European *mak-, *maks- (“bag, bellows, belly”). Cognate with Dutch maag ("stomach, belly"), German Magen ("stomach"), Swedish mage ("stomach, belly"), with Welsh megin ("bellows"), Russian мошна (mošná, "pocket, bag"), Lithuanian mãkas ("purse"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • His maw was the only one heard him walk the floor nights, and after he found, out she could hear him he walked in his socks.

    In the Arena Stories of Political Life

  • To do this is called maw-pak, and hence the game gets its name, maw-pak bae-ang.

    Through Central Borneo; an Account of Two Years' Travel in the Land of Head-Hunters Between the Years 1913 and 1917

  • To rebuke the seed is to forbid its growing. your -- literally, "for you"; that is, to your hurt. dung of ... solemn feasts -- The dung in the maw of the victims sacrificed on the feast days; the maw was the perquisite of the priests

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • Ah! that one has got hold of a tiny shrimp, and is tucking it into his hungry maw, which is just in the middle of its flower-like body.

    Ernest Bracebridge School Days

  • Maw might be a bit archaic nowadays; in the Anglo-Saxon leechbooks "maw" seems to refer to the stomach more than the mouth, though I take it to mean the digestive tract from mouth to stomach.

    More on Maugrim

  • First he transferred Eddie's ammunition to his own person, and such valuables and trinkets as he thought "maw" might be glad to have, then he removed the breechblock from

    The Mucker

  • If a man wants to be famous, he had much better try the advertising doctor than the terrible editor, whose waste-basket is a maw which is as insatiable as the temporary stomach of Jack the

    Over the Teacups

  • If a man wants to be famous, he had much better try the advertising doctor than the terrible editor, whose waste-basket is a maw which is as insatiable as the temporary stomach of Jack the Giant-killer.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Works

  • Hmmm. Crystal would receive points (if a point system had been used in the judging) for her use of the word 'maw'.

    Lust Bites

  • My, but your maw is a woman to be proud of! "she said, hugging mother and patting her on the back.

    Laddie: A True Blue Story

Comments

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

  • *maw agape*

    June 8, 2009

  • Penguins make the bravest dentists.

    June 8, 2009

  • bilby, how could you?

    June 8, 2009

  • You'd probably like Gaping Maws then.

    June 8, 2009

  • I like this word best when used with gaping, as a synonym for the opening through which food is taken in and vocalizations emerge. Otherwise known as piehole.

    August 27, 2008