muscle

noun, often attributive
mus·cle | \ ˈmə-səl \

Definition of muscle 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a body tissue consisting of long cells that contract when stimulated and produce motion

b : an organ that is essentially a mass of muscle tissue attached at either end to a fixed point and that by contracting moves or checks the movement of a body part

2a : muscular strength : brawn

b : effective strength : power political muscle

muscle

verb
muscled; muscling\ˈmə-s(ə-)liŋ \

Definition of muscle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to move or force by or as if by muscular effort muscled him out of office

intransitive verb

: to make one's way by brute strength or by force

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of muscle in a Sentence

Noun

the muscles of the arm an athlete with bulging muscles He pulled a muscle playing tennis. She has a strained muscle in her back. She started lifting weights to build muscle. She doesn't have the muscle to lift something so heavy.

Verb

They muscled the heavy boxes onto the truck. They muscled the furniture up the stairs. He muscled through the crowd. They muscled into line behind us.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Even after replenishing with water, lingering muscle soreness is a constant reminder of the day's work. Zahria Rogers, The Courier-Journal, "Concierge IV hydration therapy service seeks to rehydrate Louisville," 12 July 2018 In other words, blueberries may help ease muscle soreness. NBC News, "8 summer superfoods to eat after a tough workout," 11 July 2018 According to Coyne, a certified riding instructor, the horse creates a three-dimensional movement that can wake up dormant muscles in people. Elena Weissmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Urban horse therapy program coming to Milwaukee's Bay View area will be first of its kind," 4 July 2018 Federal physical activity guidelines recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week, in addition to muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Only 23% of Americans Get Enough Exercise, a New Report Says," 28 June 2018 The 'saur had a jaw powerful enough to crush the bones of other dinosaurs – and, while contested, calculations based on skeletal anatomy and muscle mass suggest that a T. rex in a hurry could have moved at speeds of 17 miles an hour or more. Brian Switek, Smithsonian, "How We Elected T. rex to be Our Tyrant Lizard King," 21 June 2018 Happiness is physiologically linked to the muscles in our face, so smiling is the chicken to the happiness egg. Jeff Stibel, USA TODAY, "How to use your brain to live a long life," 12 June 2018 Able to measure much more than just your weight, this scale can also provide insight regarding your bone mass, muscle mass, BMI, and Body Fat. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Today's Best Deals: The Ultimate Beer Vessel," 11 May 2018 Smith, who has been dealing with the injury all season, is dealing with muscle soreness and discomfort in the area and it's not believed this current injury will keep him out long term. Andrew Lopez, NOLA.com, "Paul Mainieri: Josh Smith likely out for LSU baseball this weekend," 1 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The staple of this argument seems to be that against both Uruguay and the Red Devils, Les Blues out-thought and out-muscled their opponents with defensive fortitude, whilst retaining the attacking bite that their glut of forwards portend to. SI.com, "Why Didier Deschamps Is Still a Problem Regardless of Leading France to the World Cup Final," 12 July 2018 Cooper was born Stanley Hicks, but changed his name, at some point, to Blaine Cooper — the same name as Jesse Ventura’s muscled, gun-toting commando character in the 1987 action film, Predator. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Bundyville Chapter One: A War in the Desert," 15 May 2018 The same person who hits the floor for loose balls, takes a charge in the paint, muscles her way to rebounds and bulls a path to points plays the piano in the band at her church as part of the music ministry. Marc Hardin, Cincinnati.com, "Catching up: Brossart's feisty Schultz doesn't back down for TMC women's basketball," 25 Jan. 2018 In terms of body type, the 6-foot-5 Langford will need to probably muscle up a little more. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "Romeo Langford, Charles Bassey make Louisville-area 2018 class special," 15 June 2018 With two on, Cuthbert muscled a low pitch into the first row of the Sonic Slam seats in left center, giving the Royals their first lead at 4-2. Jesse Newell, kansascity, "How the Royals overcame their biggest offensive struggle in a win over the White Sox | The Kansas City Star," 29 Apr. 2018 Sawyers muscled his way in, Franklin said, handcuffed him and drove him to jail. Anchorage Daily News, "When freedom feels like extortion: Bail bondsmen accused of exploiting poor clients," 31 Mar. 2018 Javonta Lyons muscles his way to the basket for Purcell Marian. Adam Baum, Cincinnati.com, "Moeller, Princeton, McNicholas, Deer Park remain in boys basketball Top 10," 22 Jan. 2018 There’s always a temptation for the top power-hitting prospect in the Phillies farm system to simply muscle up, turn on a ball, and belt it to a faraway spot beyond the left-field fence. Scott Lauber, Philly.com, "Phillies prospect Jhailyn Ortiz turns on the power after difficult start," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'muscle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of muscle

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

circa 1819, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for muscle

Noun

Middle English, from Latin musculus, from diminutive of mus mouse — more at mouse

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about muscle

Statistics for muscle

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for muscle

The first known use of muscle was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for muscle

muscle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of muscle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a body tissue that can contract and produce movement

: physical strength

: power and influence

muscle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of muscle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move (something) by using physical strength and force

: to move forward by using physical force

muscle

noun
mus·cle | \ ˈmə-səl \

Kids Definition of muscle

1 : a tissue of the body consisting of long cells that can contract and produce motion

2 : an organ of the body that is a mass of muscle tissue attached at either end (as to bones) so that it can make a body part move

3 : strength of the muscles He doesn't have the muscle to lift that.

muscle

noun, often attributive
mus·cle | \ ˈməs-əl \

Medical Definition of muscle 

1 : a body tissue consisting of long cells that contract when stimulated and produce motion — see cardiac muscle, smooth muscle, striated muscle

2 : an organ that is essentially a mass of muscle tissue attached at either end to a fixed point and that by contracting moves or checks the movement of a body part — see agonist sense 1, antagonist sense a, synergist sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on muscle

What made you want to look up muscle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

alleviating pain or harshness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!