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Well Used: Maudlin

I love finding examples of words used in particularly appropriate ways. In this case, “maudlin” is well used because it was uttered by a nun: “We can’t be maudlin about this.”

“Maudlin” was first used in the early 1500s, and we get the word from the biblical character Mary Magdalene. In medieval art, Magdalene was almost always shown weeping, either washing Jesus’ feet with her tears or weeping outside his empty tomb. People of the time referred to anyone who had a similar weepy look or disposition as “Magdalene.” Over time, the pronunciation became slurred and the spelling changed to “maudlin.”

Mary Magdalene. Maudlin. Nuns. Nice word choice.

“Maudlin” is one of the words in my forthcoming book, 101 WORDS TO SOUND SMART, due out in November. (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-MillionIndieboundPowell’s)


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