maudlin

foolishly emotional and tearful, overly sentimental
—When some people drink too much, they can’t stop laughing. Bill, on the other hand, is a maudlin drunk. He cries over every little thing. 

The Gospel-writer Luke tells the story of a woman who shows her devotion to Jesus by “anointing” his feet:

Then when a woman of that town, who was a sinner, learned that Jesus was dining at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil. As she stood behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. She wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfumed oil. (Luke 7:37, 38)

Though the woman is not named, some believe this woman to be Mary Magdalene. This Mary is mentioned by Luke in the next chapter as one of the women who traveled with Jesus, along with his 12 closest disciples:

Some time afterward he went on through towns and villages, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and disabilities: Mary (called Magdalene), from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Cuza (Herod’s household manager), Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their own resources. (Luke 8:1-3)

Mary was called Magdalene because she came from the town of Magdala. The Middle English form of Magdeline is Maudelen, which gives us maudlin.

Because the woman washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, maudlin now refers to someone who is weepy. And even though Mary Magdalene represents sincere sorrow and repentance, today’s maudlin is used to refer to someone who is overly tearful or to something, such as a story, that is sentimental in a foolish way.

Previous Post
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://bible.org. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

    Scripture in brackets is from the King James Bible.

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed by Craig Thompson under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

    Any reproduction of this content using passages from the NET Bible must follow NET Bible's copyright policy for use of those passages.

    For information on creating translations of Putting Words in Our Mouths, please go here.

  • Visit My Blog: Clearing Customs

    Photographers, Can You Do Us Cross-Cultural Bloggers a Favor? [—at A Life Overseas]

    From a recent edition of the weekly web journal Brigada Today, I found out that there’s a photography conference, “Depth of Field,” coming up, February 7 and 8. It’s designed for pro photographers, but I’m thinking that means amateurs could learn even more from it. And it’s in New York, but the “Main Stage” and […]

    Where Do You Hail From?

    Ask a Third Culture Kid, “Where are you from?” and in response you might get a deep sigh or a quizzical look . . . or a quick, simple answer that staves off more questions. There are other ways to ask for the same information. There’s “Where’s home?” A better question might be “Where have […]