Where Did the Term “Maudlin” When Being Overemotional Come From and What Does the Word Mean?

A lot of drinkers are referred to as “maudlin” when they become weak and overemotional and “cry in their beer.”

The word is a common British alteration of Magdalene, the surname of Mary, the woman who repented and was forgiven by Jesus Christ in Luke 7:37.

In medieval paintings, as a sign of repentance, Mary Magdalene is most often shown with eyes swollen from weeping.

The use of her name in terms of being maudlin, meaning “tearful sentimentality,” was first recorded in 1631.

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About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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