Mall vs. Maul

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Mall and maul are two words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will examine the definitions of mall and maul, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Mall may refer to an outdoor promenade or public walkway. In the United States, a mall is a large shopping center consisting of many places of business with an enclosed promenade connecting the businesses. The word mall first appeared in the mid-1700s and is derived from a tree-lined promenade in London’s St. James’ Park known as The Mall. The use of the word mall to mean a shopping center first occurred in 1962.

Maul means to be attacked and savaged with injury, especially by an animal. In reference to human attacks, maul usually means one is sexually attacked but not raped. Maul is used figuratively to mean to criticize someone, fiercely. Maul is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are mauls, mauled, mauling, mauler. The word maul may be used as a noun to refer to a type of sledgehammer. The word maul is derived from the Latin word malleus, which means hammer.


Another makeover is in the works for Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, just three years after a wide-ranging $50 million renovation and expansion was completed. (The Chicago Daily Herald)

A decade ago, the acreage at the corner of Routes 85 and 85A were the site of a battle over a proposed 1.5 million-square-foot mall, possibly anchored by a Target or Walmart. (The Albany Times Union)

He took us down The Mall to St James’s Palace, where the parade started. (The New Zealand Herald)

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