a. A heavy, long-handled hammer used especially to drive stakes, piles, or wedges.
b. A heavy hammer having a wedge-shaped head and used for splitting logs.
a. A play in rugby in which a mass of players gathers around a ball carrier being tackled and attempts to gain possession of the ball when it is released.
b. The mass of players during such a play.
tr.v. mauled, maul·ing, mauls
a. To injure or mutilate, as by scratching or beating: stories of hikers mauled by wild animals; a boxer who mauled his opponent. See Synonyms at mangle1.
b. To defeat handily: The home team was mauled in the season opener.
2. To handle or treat roughly, causing damage: The package was mauled by the careless messenger.
3. To split (wood) with a maul and wedge.
[Middle English malle, from Old French mail, from Latin malleus; see melə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.