Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The legless, soft-bodied, wormlike larva of any of various flies of the order Diptera, often found in decaying matter.
  • n. Slang A despicable person.
  • n. An extravagant notion; a whim.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A soft, legless larva of a fly or other dipterous insect, that often eats decomposing organic matter.
  • n. A term of insult for a 'worthless' person, as if a bug.
  • n. A whimsy or fancy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The footless larva of any fly. See larval.
  • n. A whim; an odd fancy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Properly, the larva of a fly or other insect: hence, in general, a grub; a worm: applied to footless larvæ, and especially to the larvæ of flies.
  • n. A whim; a crotchet; an odd fancy: mostly in such expressions as a maggot in one's head.
  • n. A frisky fellow; one given to pranks.
  • n. A whimsical impromptu melody or song.
  • n. (See also cheese-maggot, meat-maggot.)

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the larva of the housefly and blowfly commonly found in decaying organic matter

Etymologies

Middle English magot, perhaps alteration of mathek, maddokk, perhaps from Old English matha.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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 common Germanic root *mathon-, from the Proto-Indo-European root *math-, 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. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but were it called a maggot, a schist or a cloaca, we would think of it quite differently.

    Why Juliet Could Never Be Plain Julie

  • The larvae preferentially consume dead tissue (steering clear of live), they excrete an antibacterial agent, and they stimulate wound healing -- all factors that could be linked to the lower occurrence of infection in maggot-treated wounds.

    Boing Boing: September 12, 2004 - September 18, 2004 Archives

  • He said that he had not been "maggot" - slang for getting out of it - for almost two weeks, so was going to make the most of it.

    New Zealand Herald - Top Stories

  • In the blog Bitesize Bio I came across a press release PDF from Monarch Labs on their Larval Debridement Therapy, also known as maggot therapy.

    Rambles at starchamber.com » Blog Archive » Larval Debridement Therapy

  • The egg of a common house-fly hatches into a larva called a maggot; in this condition the body destined to become the vastly different fly is composed of soft-skinned segments very much alike and also similar to the joints of a worm.

    The Doctrine of Evolution Its Basis and Its Scope

  • Chironomus, in the thoracic region of the legless maggot, which is the larva of an insect of this family, and the imaginal discs for eyes and feelers (fig. 11 _e_, _f_) lie just in front of it.

    The Life-Story of Insects

  • The broad end of the maggot is the tail, while the narrow extremity marks the position of the mouth.

    The Life-Story of Insects

  • The soil of this island is poor for any purpose but growing timber; the inhabitants consequently are not many, and they live on roots and fish and what we should think still poorer food – a great wood maggot, which is found in plenty.

    The Old Helmet

  • The soil of this island is poor for any purpose but growing timber; the inhabitants consequently are not many, and they live on roots and fish and what we should think still poorer food -- a great wood maggot, which is found in plenty.

    The Old Helmet, Volume II

  • In a process called maggot debridement treatment, the bugs are placed directly onto a wound, where they remove dead tissue known as slough, which prevents healing.

    NYDN Rss

Comments

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  • (n): In traditional dance and music (primarliy English and American), a term referring to either the name of a tune, a specific dance, or both. In this context, maggot seems to connote earworm. Titles/names include Draper's Maggot, Miss Spark's Maggot, and Mr. Isaac's Maggot.

    January 17, 2009

  • Mmmm - yes indeed. Shuddersome.

    June 23, 2008

  • It makes me shiver! It's such a horrible sounding word,kind of rolling off your tongue.

    June 23, 2008