to celebrate with extravagant public demonstrations.
It is evidence of his freedom from pedantry that Doctor Bradley seemed to be willing to accept to buttle, from butler, to bant from Banting, the name of the Englishman who proposed a new method for reducing fat, and to maffick –that is,to indulge in a riotous demonstration in the street, like that which took place in London in 1900 when there came the glad news of the relief of Mafeking, long beleaguered by the Boers.
-Brander Matthews, “The Latest Novelties in Language,” Harper’s Magazine, June–November, 1920
Did You Know?
Maffick is an alteration of Mafeking Night, the British celebration of the lifting of the siege of a British military outpost during the South African War at the town of Mafikeng (also spelled Mafeking) on May 17, 1900. The South African War was fought between the British and the Afrikaners, who were Dutch and Huguenot settlers originally called Boers, over the right to govern frontier territories. Though the war did not end until 1902, the lifting of the siege of Mafikeng was a significant victory for the British because they held out against a larger Afrikaner force for 217 days until reinforcements could arrive. The rejoicing in British cities on news of the rescue produced “maffick,” a word that was popular for a while, especially in journalistic writing, but is now relatively uncommon.
back-formation from Mafeking Night, English celebration of the lifting of the siege of Mafeking, South Africa, May 17, 1900
First Known Use: 1900