From Middle English magot, magotte, probably Anglo-Norman metathetic alteration of maddock, 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 their brain.
Modern English dictionary
Explore and search massive catalog of over 900,000 word meanings.
Word of the Day
Get a curated memorable word every day.
Level up your vocabulary by setting personal goals.