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From Middle English magot, magotte, probably Anglo-Norman alteration of maddock (worm", "maggot), originally a diminutive form of a base represented by Old English maþa (Scots mathe), from Frankish *maþō, from common Proto-Germanic *maþô, from the Proto-Indo-European root *mat, which was used in insect names, equivalent to made +‎ -ock. Near-cognates include Dutch made, German Made and Swedish mask.

The use of maggot to mean a fanciful or whimsical thing derives from the folk belief that a whimsical or crotchety person had maggots in his or her brain.


  • enPR: măg'ət, IPA(key): /ˈmæɡət/
  • (file)


maggot (plural maggots)

  1. A soft, legless larva of a fly or other dipterous insect, that often eats decomposing organic matter. [from 15th c.]
  2. (derogatory) A worthless person. [from 17th c.]
    Drop and give me fifty, maggot.
  3. (now archaic, regional) A whimsy or fancy. [from 17th c.]
    • 1620, John Fletcher, Women Pleased, III.iv.
      Are you not mad, my friend? What time o' th' moon is't? / Have not you maggots in your brain?
    • 1778, Frances Burney, Journals & Letters, Penguin 2001, p. 100:
      ‘I am ashamed of him! how can he think of humouring you in such maggots!’
    • 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard:
      [] If you draw, Sir, there's one prospect up the river, by the mills—upon my conscience—but you don't draw?'
      No answer.
      'A little, Sir, maybe? Just for a maggot, I'll wager—like my good lady, Mrs. Toole.'
  4. (slang) A fan of the American metal band Slipknot.


  • (soft legless larva): grub

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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.