noun, often attributive
mus·​cle | \ ˈmə-səl How to pronounce muscle (audio) \

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


muscled; muscling\ ˈmə-​s(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce muscle (audio) \

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

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 This works for pains associated with arthritis, backaches, and muscle and joint pain. Chris Hachey, BGR, 28 July 2022 Symptoms of melioidosis depend on where someone is infected but may include fever, pain or swelling, ulcers, coughing, chest pain, trouble breathing, weight loss, muscle or joint pain, disorientation, headache and seizures. Virginia Langmaid, CNN, 27 July 2022 The autoimmune disorder is when the immune system attacks muscle and fat tissue behind the eyes causing inflammation and scar tissue. Essence, 25 July 2022 Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox and include fever, headache, muscle and backaches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and, most notably, a rash that looks like pimples or blisters. Howard Koplowitz |, al, 22 July 2022 The new funds will help the company grow its Cambridge staff by about 50 percent over the next year, get its first two therapies into clinical trials, and expand its scope to develop therapies for muscle and heart diseases. Ryan Cross,, 20 July 2022 Heat exhaustion symptoms include dizziness, profuse sweating, pale skin, nausea, weak pulse and muscle cramps. Jordan D. Brown, USA TODAY, 19 July 2022 Its famous trunk, full of muscle and devoid of bone, can move in a virtually infinite number of directions and is capable of performing an array of tasks, such as tearing up foliage and suctioning up water and tortilla chips. New York Times, 18 July 2022 And there's plenty of research that supports the idea that these training types can be nearly as effective for building muscle and strength as your traditional high-volume training program. Jeff Tomko, Men's Health, 13 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The promotion hopes to position her as the face of its campaign to muscle in on the U.F.C., the dominant player in the sport. New York Times, 30 June 2022 Prosecutors portrayed Wright as defiant, willing to muscle through the contract. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, 25 Apr. 2022 The Uncle Vanya application wasn’t the only one to try to muscle in on McDonald’s intellectual property in Russia, Gerben said. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2022 There’s a version of the Russian MICLIC, the UR-83P, that dismounted engineers can muscle into position. David Axe, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 Seeds will muscle in on nuts as an alternative protein source, in products like butters and ice creams. New York Times, 28 Dec. 2021 Williams said help is especially necessary when Antetokounmpo bodies up to him and attempts to muscle him down in a one-on-one. Julia Poe,, 20 Apr. 2022 With the end of the slavery of the long-term contract, the stars achieved free agency and began to muscle the studios that had kept them on board wages. David Mamet, National Review, 31 Mar. 2022 But after the war, Europe was in no position to economically muscle others. Amanda Shendruk, Quartz, 11 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of muscle


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


circa 1819, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for muscle


Middle English, from Latin musculus, from diminutive of mus mouse — more at mouse entry 1

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

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Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Muscle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for muscle


mus·​cle | \ ˈmə-səl How to pronounce muscle (audio) \

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.


noun, often attributive
mus·​cle | \ ˈməs-əl How to pronounce muscle (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on muscle

Nglish: Translation of muscle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of muscle for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about muscle


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