[maw-kin, mawl-, mal-] /ˈmɔ kɪn, ˈmɔl-, ˈmæl-/

noun, British Dialect.
an untidy woman; slattern.
a scarecrow, ragged puppet, or grotesque effigy.
a mop, especially one made from a bundle of rags and used to clean out a baker’s oven.
a cat.
a hare.
/ˈmɔːkɪn; ˈmɔːl-; ˈmæl-/
an archaic or dialect name for a cat1 Compare grimalkin
a variant of mawkin

also mawkin, “a slattern; woman of the lower classes,” late 13c., from fem. proper name Malkyn, a diminutive of Mault “Maud” (see Matilda). Also attested from c.1200 as the proper name of a female specter. Sense of “untidy woman” led to meaning “mop, bundle of rags on a stick” (used to clean ovens, artillery pieces, etc.), c.1400.

MALKINTRASH. One in dismal garb. [“Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence,” London, 1811]

Attested as the name of a cat since 1670s (perhaps earlier as Grimalkin, 16c.); cf. Serbo-Croatian mačka “cat,” originally a pet-name form of Maria. Also used in Scotland and northern England as the name of a hare (1724).


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