Meaning of Mawkish

The word „mawkish“ is used to describe something that is overly sentimental to the point of being sickening or nauseating. It can refer to a person, a piece of writing, a movie, or any form of expression that is excessively emotional in a way that feels insincere or cloying.


„Mawkish“ originates from the Middle English word „mawk,“ which means „maggot.“ Over time, the word evolved to describe something that is unpleasant or distasteful, much like the feeling of encountering a maggot. By the late 17th century, it began to take on its current meaning related to excessive sentimentality.

Usage in Sentences

Understanding how to use „mawkish“ in a sentence can help you incorporate it into your vocabulary effectively. Here are a few examples:

  1. The movie’s ending was so mawkish that it left the audience rolling their eyes rather than reaching for tissues.
  2. Her mawkish letter of apology felt insincere, as if she was trying too hard to be emotional.
  3. The novel was criticized for its mawkish dialogue, which seemed unrealistic and forced.

Mawkish vs. Sentimental

While „mawkish“ and „sentimental“ both describe an appeal to the emotions, they are not interchangeable. „Sentimental“ is generally a neutral term that describes genuine or tender emotions, whereas „mawkish“ has a negative connotation, implying an excessiveness that is off-putting or insincere.

Related Words

  • Saccharine: This term is often used to describe something that is excessively sweet or sentimental, similar to „mawkish.“
  • Cloying: This word refers to something that is so sweet or sentimental that it becomes disgusting or sickening.
  • Melodramatic: This term describes a style of being overly emotional or dramatic, often to the point of absurdity.


Incorporating words like „mawkish“ into your English vocabulary can add nuance and precision to your language skills. Remember that „mawkish“ is best used to describe situations where sentimentality is overdone to the point of being distasteful. By understanding its meaning, origin, and usage, you can avoid the pitfalls of mawkishness in your own expressions.

Feel free to practice using „mawkish“ in your own sentences and share your thoughts or questions in the comments below!

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