muscle

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

muscle

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Eren and Bebber used pig hide—cold and hairless—muscle, and tendons. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Knives made of frozen feces don’t make the cut, disproving well-known legend," 16 Sep. 2019 Also ask your health care provider if taking Vitamin D supplements might improve the condition of your nerves, muscles, and bones. Healthy Aging Leadership Team, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Health Dept.: Falls leading cause of injuries for older Americans, but not inevitable," 13 Sep. 2019 By suppressing the amount of TGF-beta in cells, the ALK5 inhibitor had been shown to stimulate the growth of new brain cells and improve muscle and tissue health. The Economist, "Uncovering how the body ages is leading to drugs to reverse it," 12 Sep. 2019 As a bonus, this will also work the stabilizing muscles and tendons around your ankles and knees. Stephanie Mansour, NBC News, "5 resistance band exercises for a total-body workout," 12 Sep. 2019 Facial yoga is a new trend; exercise for the face can rev up circulation and strengthen facial muscles and skin over time. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Beware a dryer fire!," 12 Sep. 2019 Dengue causes high fever, muscle and joint pain, pain behind the eyes, vomiting and fatigue. Cindy Krischer Goodman, sun-sentinel.com, "Broward County updates schedule to fight mosquitoes," 6 Sep. 2019 The dimensions of its teeth and jaws also make sense: Later australopiths had large, wide faces to accommodate the bones and muscles needed to power through tough diets. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "'Unprecedented' skull reveals face of human ancestor," 28 Aug. 2019 The roughly 130,000 Ethiopian-Jewish Israelis have yet to wield much muscle in politics, despite the election of a handful to the Knesset since the waves of immigration in the 1980s and in 1991. David M. Halbfinger, New York Times, "Israeli Election Hinges on a Mosaic of Competing Groups," 17 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In contrast to Japanese sumo, competitors do not score points by muscling an opponent out of the ring. John Leland, New York Times, "Mr. Kim’s Lonely Fight to Preserve a Korean Tradition," 30 Aug. 2019 His profile photo on Facebook, taken shortly before Masood disappeared, showed a tall, formidably muscled man with shoulders like cannonballs. Matthew Wolfe, Harper's magazine, "Without a Trace," 10 Feb. 2019 This is the same customer who tends to buy lots of books, go to lots of museums or have enough family money to muscle through ill-paying jobs in publishing. Caille Millner, SFChronicle.com, "Dead giveaways: Yesterday’s swag today’s charitable donation," 30 Aug. 2019 Flex your kitchen muscles a little bit Wednesday afternoon with a cast-iron chicken pot pie, which makes an elegant and savory treat with a deceptively pain-free puff pastry lattice crust. Paul Stephen, ExpressNews.com, "The new meal prep: 6 dinners from 3 basic ingredients," 28 Aug. 2019 Three previous bookings of this matchup fell through due to injury, but the two cartoonishly muscled 185-pounders captivated the crowd with a spectacularly physical fight that Costa won 29-28 on all three scorecards. Greg Beacham, The Denver Post, "Stipe Miocic stops Daniel Cormier, reclaims heavyweight belt at UFC 241," 18 Aug. 2019 All four are at risk of not making the cut for debates in the fall.(Joe Raedle / Getty Images) WASHINGTON — Andrew Yang has never muscled a bill through Congress, or even gaveled in a local city council meeting. Los Angeles Times, "Increasingly desperate second-tier Democratic hopefuls scramble to keep presidential bids going," 25 July 2019 Cox is a short but densely muscled man with bright-white teeth and a nervous, eager-to-please air. Rachel Monroe, The Atlantic, "The True-Crime Writer in Cellblock B4," 16 July 2019 Verstappen came out on top then, aggressively muscling Leclerc out of the lead with just one lap remaining. Matias Grez, CNN, "'Silverstone, I love you': Lewis Hamilton wins record sixth British Grand Prix," 14 July 2019

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.

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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 entry 1

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Statistics for muscle

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for muscle

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

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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 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.

muscle

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on muscle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with muscle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for muscle

Spanish Central: Translation of muscle

Nglish: Translation of muscle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of muscle for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about muscle

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