Definition of maggot in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmaɡət/


1A soft-bodied legless larva, especially that of a fly found in decaying matter.
Example sentences
  • These greenish larvae are typical fly maggots in appearance; legless, broadest at the tail end and tapering to a point at the head, with hook-like mouthparts.
  • This year flea beetles, white grubs, seed corn maggots and wireworms generated a lot of discussion.
  • Flea beetles and root maggots, the two major radish pests, can be avoided by placing floating row cover over the bed.
1.1 Fishing Bait consisting of a maggot or maggots.
Example sentences
  • I did intend using maggot as one of the main baits but thought pre-baiting regularly with them might encourage too many of the water's small perch into the swim.
  • I am certain that more bream were caught on carp type baits rather than traditional bream baits like worm, caster or maggot.
  • The closest you can get to fishing with a natural bait for these timid tench is with the humble maggot and redworm.
2 archaic A whimsical fancy.
Example sentences
  • "You know, Ruth," he said, "I don't wish to say anything against Isaac, and I don't want to make you uneasy, but you know as well as I do that he has a strange maggot in his brain.
  • There's a strange maggot hath got into their brains, which possesseth them with a kind of vertigo, and it reigns in the pulpit more than anywhere else, for some of our preachmen are grown dog mad, there's a worm got into their tongues as well as their heads.


Late Middle English: perhaps an alteration of dialect maddock, from Old Norse mathkr, of Germanic origin.

  • Around 2003 a photograph circulated on the internet purporting to show a man with maggots in the brain. The maggots were just an urban myth—one story said that the condition resulted from eating the Japanese raw-fish dish sashimi; another that it resulted from swimming in water where parasitic fish could enter the urinary tract (the candiru, a small catfish of the Amazon basin, does occasionally do this). The scare was new, but not the idea. When the Gothic novelist Charlotte Dacre published Zofloya, or the Moor in 1806, with its plot of murder and a Satanic lover, a reviewer pronounced that she must be ‘afflicted with the dismal malady of maggots in the brain’. Maggot is probably an alteration of the earlier word maddock, meaning ‘maggot’ or ‘earthworm’, influenced by Maggot or Magot, pet forms of the names Margery or Margaret. Compare pie

Words that rhyme with maggot

braggart, faggot (US fagot)

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mag·got

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