mid-13c., meallen "to strike, beat, or bruise with a heavy weapon," from Middle English mealle (mid-13c.) "mace, wooden club, heavy hammer" (see maul (n.)). It has gradually lost its association with hammering. To maul through "pierce with a pointed weapon" is attested by mid-14c.; and compare the meaning "split (rails) with wedges and a maul" (1680s). The meaning "damage seriously, mangle" is recorded by 1690s. Related: Mauled; mauling.
c. 1200, mealle, "heavy wooden hammer or mallet; sledgehammer," from Old French mail "hammer," from Latin malleus "hammer" (from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind").
"small wooden hammer," chiefly used for driving another tool, late 14c., from Old French maillet "mallet, small wooden hammer, door-knocker," diminutive of mail, from Latin malleus "a hammer, mallet," from Proto-Italic *molalo-, *molklo- "hammer," from PIE *molkh-tlo- "crushing instrument," source also of Russian molot, Czech mlat "hammer," from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind." It is wielded with one hand, while the heavier mall or maul requires both.
*melə-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to crush, grind," with derivatives referring to ground or crumbling substances and crushing or grinding instruments.
It forms all or part of: amyl; amyloid; blintz; emmer; emolument; immolate; maelstrom; mall; malleable; malleolus; mallet; malleus; maul; meal (n.2) "edible ground grain;" mill (n.1) "building fitted to grind grain;" millet; mola; molar (n.); mold (n.3) "loose earth;" molder; ormolu; pall-mall.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Hittite mallanzi "they grind;" Armenian malem "I crush, bruise;" Greek mylos "millstone," myle "mill;" Latin molere "to grind," mola "millstone, mill," milium "millet;" Old English melu "meal, flour;" Albanian miel "meal, flour;" Old Church Slavonic meljo, Lithuanian malu, malti "to grind;" Old Church Slavonic mlatu, Russian molotu "hammer."
also mouldwarp, early 14c., moldewarp, "the mole," from Proto-Germanic *moldo-worpo(n)-, literally "earth-thrower," from to Old English molde "earth, soil" (see mold (n.3)) + weorpan "to throw" (see warp (v.)). Common Germanic, compare Old Saxon moldwerp, Dutch mulworp, Norwegian moldvarp, Danish muldvarp, Old High German multwurf, German Maulwurf (which has been influenced by Maul "mouth"). For many years it has been only a provincial word.
"light stick used by painters to support the painting hand," 1650s, from Dutch maalstok, literally "painting stick," from mallen "to paint," from Proto-Germanic *mal- (source also of Old Norse mæla, Old High German malon "trace, draw, paint," German malen "to paint"), from mal "spot, mark, stain," perhaps from the same root as Greek melas "black" (see melano-), but the original sense is not color but marking. With stock "stick" (see stock (n.1)).
"to tear with the teeth, maul," 1838, originally of animals (a bull, here "to gore with the horns"), from savage (adj.) or savage (n.). In late 19c. especially of horses, in reference to attacks on a person or other horse or animal.
He was up a second or so before me, and rushed at me open-mouthed ; but, on my getting on my legs, he stopped. No doubt, had I remained prostrate, he would have savaged me. I never liked a bad countenance before this, but I then resolved I would never buy another ; and I have kept my word. ["Harry Hieover," "Things Worth Knowing about Horses," London, 1859]
Earlier in a now-obsolete sense of "to act the savage, indulge in barbarism or cruelty" (1560s), also "to make savage" (1610s). Related: Savaged; savaging.