Okay, I’ll just come clean from the start and say it: until I looked it up tonight, I thought milquetoast was spelled “milk toast”. Clearly I didn’t know that the word came from the 1930’s comic strip, The Timid Soul, by H. T. Webster. Casper Milquetoast was a timid, unassertive man. The character’s name is a deliberate misspelling of milk toast, a bland easily digested food. It’s come to be used as an insult or criticism for something effectual. My daughter suggested the word for this blog, having just learned it when her journalism professor commented that a paragraph she wrote was milquetoast. She’d never heard the term before, and was suitably chagrined. Yikes. At least she learned something new. How about you? Were you already familiar with the origins of milquetoast? Ever used it as an insult?

3 thoughts on “Milquetoast

  1. I have to admit, I did not know the origins of the word milquetoast but, that never stopped me from using it. I found that the main male character in “The Accidental Tourist” would best be described as milquetoast. William Hurt is wonderful in this role and seems to have played a similar character in other films.

    Looks like we are all getting educated along with your lovely daughter.

  2. I haven’t seen this word in print for ages. The derivation is interesting–reminded me of times as a sick child when my mom fixed me milk toast. it is really tasty (or it was then). Nice, arm memory from word history 🙂

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