One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person who remains aloof or independent, especially from party politics.
- ‘Webster calls himself a Mugwump, but the mug and wump usually lean over the conservative side of the fence.’
- ‘That silence speaks volumes about where many American farmers now sit on free trade; they are fence-sitting mugwumps.’
- ‘I sit on the fence…a "mugwump" as my daddy would say.’
- ‘Whether they're Republicans, Democrats, mugwumps or what have you, they don't like it.’
- ‘For the average citizen, if there's anything to be said of a mugwump, it's that he doesn't play favorites.’
Mid 19th century: from Algonquian mugquomp ‘great chief’.
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