Definition of mawkish in English:



  • 1Sentimental in an exaggerated or false way.

    ‘a mawkish ode to parenthood’
    • ‘No pods being immediately in evidence, we suspect it was a more run-of-the-mill form of mawkish, voter-confidence-reducing sentimentality disguised as comradely goodwill.’
    • ‘But when the script turns to more romantic themes, it's never mawkish or sentimental, just grown-up.’
    • ‘But being nostalgic is often derided as being just mawkish or sentimental; what's your take on nostalgia and sport?’
    • ‘The death of a footballer is too often used as an excuse by the media and excessively emotional fans for an outbreak of mawkish sentimentality.’
    • ‘Yet there was a valid point in its criticism of ‘the mawkish sentimentality of a society that has become hooked on grief and likes to wallow in a sense of vicarious victimhood’.’
    • ‘An awful sentimental barrage of mawkish music informed us of an appropriate emotional response.’
    • ‘But the obvious pitfalls, of making the effort mawkish, sentimental and overly sanctimonious, are always there.’
    • ‘This, I hope, won't sound mawkish, but the poems strike me as gentler too.’
    • ‘Public displays of emotion were, he argued, a ‘symptom of a fragmented society that has exchanged reason for emotion, action for gesture, cool reserve for mawkish sentimentality’.’
    • ‘There are letters from home too so we can have shots of mawkish sentimentality and tears.’
    • ‘This is a refreshing development, given that modern theatre is all too often marked by self-indulgence and mawkish sentimentality.’
    • ‘While some hearts have filled with kindness and gratitude, others must have sunk an inch or two, weighed by the mawkish sentiment and the thought that it was all just a bit much.’
    • ‘It's as manipulative, sentimental and mawkish as any film could possibly dare to be - cinematic saccharine with a shimmering pro-fantasy, anti-science trim.’
    • ‘Rarely does an artist expose his or her personal vulnerability without descending into the mawkish and sentimental.’
    • ‘His annoyance is bitter anger bordering on rage; his sentiment is mawkish.’
    • ‘This time, it was just an outpouring of mawkish sentiment.’
    • ‘It is a sentimental, even mawkish, language, richly mined with hidden menace and self-deceptions.’
    • ‘I think you know by now that I'm not the mawkish, overly sentimental type.’
    • ‘Her experience works well for the film, as her rendering of the gritty harbour town anchors it in a sense of reality, avoiding overly mawkish sentimentality.’
    • ‘Imbued with tenderness and earthy humour, the film never crosses the line between sensitivity and mawkish sentimentality, and the action sequences, particularly with the whales, are deftly staged.’
    sentimental, over-sentimental, overemotional, cloying, sickly, saccharine, sugary, syrupy, sickening, nauseating, maudlin, lachrymose, banal, trite
    mushy, slushy, sloppy, schmaltzy, weepy, cutesy, lovey-dovey, gooey, drippy, sloshy, soupy, treacly, cheesy, corny, icky, sick-making, toe-curling
    cornball, sappy, hokey, three-hanky
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    1. 1.1archaic, dialect Having a faint sickly flavour.
      ‘the mawkish smell of warm beer’


Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘inclined to sickness’): from obsolete mawk maggot, from Old Norse mathkr, of Germanic origin.