Definition: A description of someone who shows a mournfully sentimental or self-pitying response to something. Intoxicated enough to be buzzed to the point of acting silly.
Etymology: Maudlin has Christian religious origins. Legend has it that Mary of Magdalene washed Jesus’s feet to repent for her sins. Thus, this type of humbleness is traditionally described as acting like Mary of Magdalene or in early Church Latin Magdalena.
By the 16th century, “acting like Magdalene” became known in English culture as a description for acting drunk. The origin then went to early French, which dropped the “g” to Madelaine. Using early French texts, the English translated Madelaine into the word Maudeleyn and later maudlin, the word we used today.
In a Sentence
The college graduate showed alcohol-related maudlin-like behavior, even though her friends noted she did not drink.
At first, the homeless person was very agitated but became maudlin as he curled into the fetal position and began to cry like a baby.
Although the clown’s missteps added to his silliness, his maudlin from sneaking sips for his thermos was evident as he tried to apologize for stumbling.