Definitions

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

  • adj. Excessively and objectionably sentimental. See Synonyms at sentimental.
  • adj. Sickening or insipid in taste.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Feeling sick, queasy.
  • adj. Sickening or insipid in taste or smell.
  • adj. Excessively or falsely sentimental; showing a sickly excess of sentiment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Apt to cause satiety or loathing; nauseous; slightly nauseating; disgusting.
  • adj. Easily disgusted; squeamish; sentimentally fastidious.
  • adj. Weakly sentimental; maudlin.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Maggoty. [Not found in this literal sense. Compare mawky, 1.] Hence Loathsome; apt to cause loathing or nausea; sickening.
  • Insipid; sickening; sickly: as, mawkish champagne; mawkish sentimentality.

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

  • adj. effusively or insincerely emotional

Etymologies

From Middle English mawke, maggot, variant of magot; see maggot.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From mawk +‎ -ish. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • This book, small and easily digested, stopping just short of the maudlin and the mawkish, is on the whole sincere, sentimental, and skillful.

    Tuesdays With Morrie: Summary and book reviews of Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom.

  • I hope that that song doesn't sound too much like that kind of mawkish Christian rock song.

    Belle And Sebastian: On 'Love' And Faith

  • Professor, "mawkish" doesn't even begin to describe it.

    Live-blogging the Oscars.

  • Mr. BROWN: It's a very emotional (unintelligible) and not in a kind of mawkish way either.

    Ten Years Gone, Jeff Buckley's Voice Lingers

  • You have written about this so affectionately and without a hint of the mawkish which is a difficult balance, I find.

    People Collection

  • There's another trope that pops up with some frequency to do the same work, only instead of focusing on the trauma experienced by individual soldiers, it peddles a kind of mawkish brotherhood-between-soldiers as the greater moral good in war.

    Kick Him, Honey

  • Even its detractors, one of whom called the book "mawkish" and poorly written, conceded the book has had an enormous influence, and it did so by virtue of its sincerity.

    Politics Daily

  • However, Lost in Showbiz admits to being puzzled by the slightly chippy, AA Gill-ish tone of the US cable, which described American shows broadcast in Saudi Arabia as "mawkish".

    The Guardian World News

  • I don't think I've ever used the word "mawkish," but it came to mind more than once while I was listening to this crap.

    mystic bourgeoisie

  • "We have come to hold, in a kind of mawkish stupor, that greatness is to be gauged by self-sacrifice.

    The Fountainhead

Comments

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  • See maudlin.

    July 17, 2009

  • Poetical mawkish duff gen/where a buzzard is 'noble' and lands/in a tree (surprise, surprise!)/to corroborate some trite tenet/cum badly-observed Nature Note.

    - Peter Reading, C, 1984

    July 23, 2008