The Meaning of Mulligan: What It Is and How To Use It

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You might have heard the term mulligan on the golf course, but what does this word of the day mean? In this article, we will explore the meaning and origin of the word mulligan. Then, we will provide alternative ways to say Mulligan and antonyms of Mulligan. 

What Does Mulligan Mean?

According to Dictionary, a mulligan is a golf term that refers to a correction shot or unpenalized chance during informal play. While the official rules of golf state that a player is not allowed any do-overs, people who play casually often allow their fellow players one or two mulligans per game.

You might also hear the term mulligan used in a more general sense outside of golf. People can use the word mulligan to refer to any sort of do-over or correction. Mulligan is three syllables (mul-li-gan), and the pronunciation of mulligan is ˈmʌl ɪ gən.

Mulligan is also a type of stew. Often, mulligan stew is made up of any ingredients that the person who is making it has available. This stew is an Irish version of burgoo. Have you ever made or tasted mulligan before?

How Can We Use Mulligan in a Sentence?

The word mulligan has a few different potential meanings, and it is important to be able to recognize what a word means based on context. In the below example sentences, see if you can determine which definition of mulligan it uses. 

Then, try coming up with your own potential uses for the word mulligan!

Example #1

The golf player at the country club became a poor shot after a couple of drinks and kept calling out mulligan after mulligan on the course.

Question: What does mulligan mean in the above sentence?

Answer: Mulligan means a golf shot that does not count against a player’s score.

Example #2

After a cold day of ice skating, the children were excited to drink up a warm bowl of mulligan. They pressed the hot broth to their icy lips.

Question: What does mulligan mean in the above sentence?

Answer: Mulligan means a type of stew

Example #3

While the golfer’s first tee shot at the Montreal tournament was a hole-in-one, none of his later shots could live up to the previous shot, and he found himself wishing he could call mulligan.

Question: What does mulligan mean in the above sentence?

Answer: Mulligan means a golf shot that does not count against a player’s score.

Example #4

Question: What does mulligan mean in the above sentence?

Answer: Mulligan means a re-do or a do-over. 

What Is the Etymology of Mulligan?

According to Live About, the word mulligan has an interesting and largely unknown origin. Usually, it is thought that the term mulligan is named after a golfer with the last name Mulligan. Some people think that the mulligan is named for Canadian golfer David Mulligan. 

Legend has it that one day, Mulligan took a do-over shot and his golf friends began calling it a mulligan. By the 1940s, this term was popular in golf clubs across the United States and Canada. 

People also think that the term mulligan might have originated as a slur against Irish-Americans, or that it derives from bars and saloons. In saloons, people could take free alcohol from a bottle on the bar, which was known as a mulligan.

What Are Synonyms of Mulligan?

The term mulligan is a fairly specific piece of golf slang that many people may not know if they are not familiar with golf. If you are looking for another way to say mulligan, you could use a synonym for this specific term. Below, you will find plenty of different ways to say Mulligan from Power Thesaurus.

Some of these words and phrases are more casual slang terms, while others are more formal. Make sure that you use the right connotation and level of formality for the situation you are in to avoid offending someone or sounding strange. 

Which of these synonyms of mulligan would you use?

  • another attempt
  • another bite of the cherry
  • another chance
  • another go
  • another opportunity
  • another shot
  • another take
  • another time
  • another try
  • do-over
  • following attempt
  • following chance
  • fresh opportunity
  • further opportunity
  • new chance
  • new start
  • next attempt
  • next chance
  • next opportunity
  • rebirth
  • re-do
  • rematch
  • restoration
  • retry
  • second bite of the apple
  • second chance
  • second shot
  • second time
  • second try

What Are Antonyms of Mulligan?

Sometimes, you might be in a situation where you are trying to refer to the opposite of a mulligan. To avoid clunky language, it can be very helpful to know antonyms for the term mulligan, like last chance or last shot.

Like our list of synonyms, several of these antonyms of Mulligan from Power Thesaurus are more casual, while others are neutral or more formal. Make sure to avoid using slang in formal or business settings. 

  • demand
  • desperate
  • do-or-die
  • final chance
  • final notice
  • final offer
  • final opportunity
  • final proposal
  • final shot
  • final terms
  • final warning
  • final word
  • frantic
  • last chance
  • last hope
  • last occasion
  • last offer
  • last opportunity
  • last possibility
  • last resort
  • last shot
  • last time
  • last word
  • last-ditch effort
  • last-gasp
  • latest chance
  • latter possibility
  • least chance
  • net chance
  • one chance
  • only hope
  • sticking point
  • ultimata
  • ultimatum
  • warning


Most often, you will hear the term mulligan in golf. Here, it refers to a shot that is not counted against the score in unofficial play. You might hear people use the term mulligan outside of the golf world to refer to a do-over or a re-do. Mulligan is also a type of stew.


Second Chance synonyms – 107 Words and Phrases for Second Chance | Power Thesaurus 

What Is the Origin of the Word ‘Mulligan’ in golf? | Live About 

Mulligan Definition & Meaning |

Last Chance synonyms – 179 Words and Phrases for Last Chance | Power Thesaurus