Word of the Day for Monday, May 10, 2010mugwump \MUHG-wuhmp\, noun:
1. A person who is unable to make up his or her mind on an issue, esp. in politics; a person who is neutral on a controversial issue.
2. A Republican who refused to support the party nominee, James G. Blaine, in the presidential campaign of 1884.
Twain declared that people arrive at their religion and politics "Second-hand and without examination," and proclaimed himself a Mugwump and anti-Imperialist. Those of all political persuasions quote and misquote him and claim him as a spokesman for their opposing views.
-- Cindy Lovell, Mark Twain's legacy worth preserving, Kansas City Star
It was his boast that he took his liquor and his politics "straight," and it was his creed that if anything was worse than a mugwump it was a bolter.Mugwump originates in the 19th century as a term for a Republican who refused to support the party nominee, James G. Blaine, in the presidential campaign of 1884. It is a rough adoption from the Algonquian (tribe native to the Massachusetts region) word muggumquomp, "war leader". In his 1959 novel "Naked Lunch" American author William S. Burroughs uses mugwump as the name of a bizarre creature.
-- "If I were a man;": the story of a new-southerner, Volume 1889