Definitions

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

  • noun One who has a meek, timid, unassertive nature.

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

  • noun a timid, unassertive man or boy fearful of confrontation and easily manipulated and dominated.

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

  • adjective Meek, timid.
  • noun pejorative A person of meek or timid disposition.

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

  • noun a timid man or boy considered childish or unassertive

Etymologies

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

[After Caspar Milquetoast, a meek comic-strip character created by Harold Tucker Webster (1885–1952) and named in reference to milk toast.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the character Caspar Milquetoast of the comic strip The Timid Soul, created by Harold Webster and first published in 1924 (named after the American dish milk toast).

Examples

    Sorry, no example sentences found.

Comments

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

  • Usage other than the foodstuff originated from the comic strip character created by Harold Webster, Casper Milquetoast

    February 3, 2007

  • Casper first appeared in a cartoon entitled (appropriately enough) The Friendly Ghost, based on an unpublished story written by Seymour V. Reit

    February 3, 2007

  • Temporary Tattoos for Wimps.

    June 25, 2009

  • Often see this word used as an adjective, but most dictionaries only consider it a noun. How proper is the adjective use?

    January 26, 2013

  • I can't provide a grammar critique of thin air so please cite one/some of these claimed adjectival usages here and let's have a look.

    January 27, 2013

  • The early 20th century referred to Caspar Milquetoast a lot. http://goo.gl/OjP0g

    I haven't heard this term in Canada, so this would be an Americanism.

    Here's the adjective use

    "In The Kid from Brooklyn he plays Burleigh Sullivan, a Milquetoast milkman who accidentally knocks out a boxing champion and becomes a prizefighter in spite of the fact that he has hardly the strength to lick a postage stamp."

    January 27, 2013

  • In that example it's a simple noun stack where milquetoast fills the slot of modifier. You can do this with any old English noun. In fact you can keep stacking and modifying to your heart's content, even with proper nouns:

    photocopier

    library photocopier

    Watford library photocopier

    etc.

    Even the ultimate noun (the head) can become a modifier if you have another noun to take its place:

    Watford library photocopier repair

    Watford library photocopier repair bill

    In summary, milquetoast is a noun but like other nouns it can function as a modifier.

    January 27, 2013

  • Watford library photocopier repair bill Emergency Action Commitee meeting planner assistant

    January 27, 2013

  • I wouldn't be surprised to find that the Watford library photocopier repair bill Emergency Action Commitee meeting planner assistant was a milquetoast

    January 27, 2013

  • Gosh, I love wordie. Every time I come back, I learn somethng new. :)

    January 27, 2013