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From Middle English magot, magotte, probably Anglo-Norman metathetic 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/
maggot (plural maggots)
- A soft, legless larva of a fly or other dipterous insect, that often eats decomposing organic matter. [from 15th c.]
- (derogatory) A worthless person. [from 17th c.]
- Drop and give me fifty, maggot.
- (now archaic, regional) A whimsy or fancy. [from 17th c.]
- (slang) A fan of the American metal band Slipknot.