Moxie Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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Whether you have a goal, objective, or ambition, you sometimes need a little moxie to help get you through the finish line. But what exactly does moxie (/mŏk′sē/ /ˈmɑː /ˈmɒ mean, and how does one get it? We’ll tell you.  

Read on as we explore the term moxie to uncover its definition, origin, usage, and more. Are you ready?

Let’s get into it. 

What Is the Definition of Moxie?

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, the noun moxie (also spelled moxy) can be defined as confidence, energy, and determination. 

Sometimes referred to as slang, moxie is often used to describe someone with a courageous or fighting spirit. For example, a boxer in the ring needs moxie in order to get up after getting knocked down. 

What Is the Etymology of Moxie?

While studying word origins of a majority of the words used within the English language, you are likely to go on a journey through Ancient Greece. Well, believe it or not, our word of the day has an etymology that is a bit unique. 

What we are trying to say here is that moxie actually originates from the name of a soft drink — which actually took the name from a patent medicine called “Moxie Nerve Food” — as opposed to a Latin word. 

Moxie Nerve Food — which was first introduced in 1876 — was the brainchild of Augustine Thompson and contained what he claimed was a rare South African plant extract. That said, the word extract derives from the gentian root, which itself has an absurdly bitter taste and is most commonly seen in herbal remedies. 

Thompson claimed that the name came from an old friend, Lieutenant Moxie; however, it’s more likely that the moniker derived from the Native American Abenaki word for dark water. 

This language is spoken by the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Mi’kmaq, and Maliseet people of coastal Maine — which just so happens to be the area Thompson grew up around! 

Moxie soft drink was first distributed out of Lowell, Massachusetts in 1884 and continued to be distributed to the New England states until 2018, when the brand was acquired by the Coca-Cola Company.

Note: Moxie, used as a slang term for spunk or energy, was first coined around 1930.

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Moxie?

To further your understanding of the word moxie, let’s review a few synonyms and antonyms, shall we? 


  • Daring
  • Dauntlessness
  • Fearlessness
  • Guts
  • Hardihood
  • Nerve 
  • Intestinal fortitude 
  • Get up and go
  • Know-how
  • Mettle
  • Pluck
  • Boldness
  • Backbone
  • Vigor
  • Verve 
  • Pep 
  • Audacity
  • Adventurousness
  • Heroism
  • Heart
  • Intrepidity
  • Gallantry
  • Doughtiness
  • Stoutness
  • Savvy 
  • Brass neck
  • Prowess
  • Valor
  • Bottle
  • Courage
  • Spirit 
  • Spunk
  • Stamina 
  • Tenacity
  • Toughness
  • Grit 
  • Courageousness 
  • A smart mouth
  • Impudence 
  • Flippancy 
  • Daringness
  • Thoughtlessness
  • Gallantry
  • Greatheartedness 
  • Bumptious
  • Spunk 
  • Gutsiness
  • Snash
  • Mouth
  • Assurance
  • Front 
  • Bravery 


  • Cowardice
  • Spinelessness
  • Cowardliness
  • Carvenness
  • Dastardliness
  • Poltroonery
  • Fear
  • Lack of knowledge 
  • Humility 
  • Irresolution
  • Modesty
  • Timidity
  • Weakness
  • Pusilanimity
  • Lack of education 
  • Gutlessness
  • Fearfulness
  • Timorousness
  • Wimpiness
  • Faint heartedness
  • Funk
  • Softness
  • Wipishness
  • Mousiness
  • Unmanliness
  • Halt 
  • Retreat
  • Failure
  • Misery
  • Aversion
  • Spiritlessness
  • Discouragement 
  • Inability
  • Incompetence
  • Disinterest
  • Hesitancy 
  • Lack of resolve 
  • Dilly dallying
  • Half heartedness
  • Lethargy 
  • Lack of enthusiasm 
  • Listlessness
  • Sluggishness
  • Torpor
  • Inactivity 
  • Lack of resolution 

How Can You Use Moxie in a Sentence?

Now that you understand what moxie means and where it came from, it’s time to practice using it in a sentence. To get you going, we’ve compiled a short list of example sentences for you to review below:

“Wow, that girl has more moxie in one finger than I have in my entire body.”

“Despite Morgan’s small size, she has a lot of moxie!”

“You’re going to need moxie if you want to beat me in a race.”

“I decided to name my puppy Moxie because she’s super spunky!”

“Becca isn’t the strongest, nor the smartest in the bunch, but she certainly has moxie!”

“Trust me, I have plenty of moxie to kick your butt in tomorrow’s championship game.”

“I must have slept really well last night because I woke up this morning with moxie.”

“Did you know that Moxie is a trademark name of a soft drink?”

“The swimmer proved her moxie by refusing to give up when she was passed by her competitor.”

“Look, I am known for having an unlimited supply of moxie, which is exactly what I need in order to win the case against the defendant.”.

“Aaron’s moxie gave him the strength he needed to continue toward the finish line.”

“You didn’t win the competition because you lack moxie.”

“Pushing through the sweltering heat, the military men’s moxie and determination kept them alive during the intense battle.”

“Full of moxie, Ryan continued to fight for his life, even when the prognosis wasn’t looking too good.”

What Are Translations of Moxie?

The word moxie and courage often go hand in hand — so before we bring this article to a close, we want to leave you with a few translations:

Here are some translations of moxie:

  • Arabic — موكسي
  • Bulgarian — мокси
  • Chinese (simplified) — 莫克西
  • Czech — odhodlání
  • German — Tatkraft
  • Greek — μόξι
  • Japanese — 元気
  • Korean — 목시
  • Portuguese — Coragem
  • Russian — энергичность
  • Thai — ม็อกซี่
  • Ukrainian — моксі

Finally, here are some translations of its synonym, courage:

  • Afrikaans — Moed
  • Arabic — شجاعة
  • Bulgarian — Кураж
  • Chinese (simplified) — 勇气
  • Croatian — Hrabrost
  • Czech — Odvaha
  • Danish — Mod
  • Dutch — Moed
  • Finnish — Rohkeus
  • French — Courage
  • German — Mut
  • Greek — Θάρρος
  • Italian — Coraggio
  • Japanese — 勇気
  • Korean — 용기
  • Norwegian — Mot
  • Polish — Odwaga
  • Portuguese — courage
  • Russian — Храбрость
  • Spanish — Valor
  • Swedish — Mod
  • Thai — ความกล้า
  • Turkish — Cesaret
  • Ukrainian — Мужність
  • Vietnamese — Can đảm


To recap, the noun moxie is used to reference someone’s determination, backbone, or even fortitude. In other words, when someone has guts, they have moxie.  


The Story of Moxie | Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage

MOXIE | definition | Cambridge English Dictionary

Trade card for the Moxie beverage, Moxie Nerve Food Co., 68 Beverly Street, Boston, Mass., undated | Historic New England