Student Dictionary

One entry found for maudlin.
Main Entry: maudĚlin
Pronunciation: primarystressmodotd-lschwan
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English Maudeleyn "Mary Magdalene," from early French Madeleine (same meaning), from Latin Magdalene (same meaning), from Greek Magdalemacronnemacron "(Mary) of Magdala (town on the Sea of Galilee)"; so called because Mary was frequently shown in religious paintings as weeping
1 : drunk enough to be tearfully silly
2 : weakly and overly sentimental
Word History The word maudlin can be traced back to the name of a town in ancient Palestine, Magdala. But the meaning of maudlin is associated with a person in the Christian Bible. In the Gospels, Mary Magdalene was so called because she was thought to have come from Magdala. She was a devoted follower of Jesus and was present at his crucifixion. Yet her name was not always spelled as it is today. Our modern English translations of the Bible have gone back to the Latin text for the form Magdalene. But in early French, the g dropped out and the word became Madelaine. When the name was taken into Middle English from the early French texts, its form was Maudeleyn and later Maudlin. In the Middle Ages, religious artists painting scenes of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus showed Mary as weeping. In time her name became an adjective for a tearful show of emotion and later especially for an exaggerated display of emotion from a drunken person.

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