type of contagious disease characterized by inflammation of the glands, c. 1600, from plural of mump "a grimace" (1590s), originally a verb, "to whine or mutter like a beggar" (1580s), from Dutch mompen "to cheat, deceive," originally probably "to mumble, whine" and of imitative origin (compare mum (interj.), mumble). The infectious disease probably was so called in reference to swelling of the salivary glands of the face and/or to painful difficulty swallowing. Mumps also was used from 17c. to mean "a fit of melancholy, sullenness, silent displeasure."
updated on March 21, 2019
Dictionary entries near mumps