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Muckamuck, mucky-muck and muckety-muck

The terms muckamuck, mucky-muck and muckety-muck are different variations of the same term. We will look at the words muckamuck, mucky-muck and muckety-muck, their definition and where they come from. We will also look at a few examples of their use in sentences.

Muckamuck, mucky-muck and muckety-muck describe someone important, especially someone who is self-important. The term is most often modified with the word high, as in high muckamuck, high mucky-muck and high muckety-muck. Mostly a North American term, it is derived from the Chinook word muckamuck. In the Chinook language, muckamuck means to eat food. Someone who has a great deal of food is rich and presumably holds high status in the tribe, and is called hiu muckamuck, which means has plenty of food to eat. First used as a written word around the middle of the nineteenth century, this idea filtered into the English language as high muckamuck around 1912. Both muckamuck and mucky-muck are found in the Oxford English Dictionary, although muckety-muck is sometimes seen.


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Examples

“Cultus [worthless] muckamuck [food],” answered Hall, speaking in Chinook jargon. (The Daily News)

My colleague Gustavo Arellano at New Times’ sister paper in Orange County, the OC Weekly, tells me that Hunt has a rep for railing against corruption, a rep slightly tarnished for his role in a scandal involving Gregory Scott Haidl, the son of an OC Sheriff’s Office muck-a-muck. (The Phoenix New Times)

Not much more than a narrative necessity, a Hindu from a religious family whose uncle, ominously, is a high muck-a-muck in a nationalist political party. (The New York Times)

His followers don’t necessarily believe that — what they love about him is what kids loved about Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious, the fact that he horrifies the powers that be and when you are pro-duck you are giving the finger to Congress, the press, clergy, lawyers, teachers, cake-eaters, big muckety-mucks, VIPs, all those people who think they’re better than you — you have the power to scare the pants off them, and that’s what this candidate does better than anybody else. (The Chicago Tribune)

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