(A). A word borrowed from the Algonquin, meaning one who
acts and thinks independently. In Eliot's Indian Bible the word
“centurion” in the Acts is rendered mugwump. Those who refuse to
follow the dictum of a caucus are called in the United States
mugwumps. The chief of the Indians of Esopus is entitled the Mugwump. Turncoats are mugwumps, and all political Pharisees whose
party vote cannot be relied on.
“ `I suppose I am a political mugwump,' said the Englishman. `Not
yet,' replied Mr. Reed. `You will be when you have returned to your
allegiance.' ” —The Liverpool Echo, July 19th, 1886.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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