Definition of musket
: a heavy large-caliber muzzle-loading usually smoothbore shoulder firearm; broadly : a shoulder gun carried by infantry
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Did You Know?
In the early era of firearms, cannons of lesser size such as the falconet were sometimes named for birds of prey. Following this pattern, Italians applied moschetto or moschetta, meaning "sparrow hawk," to a small-caliber piece of ordnance in the 16th century. Spaniards borrowed this word as mosquete and the French as mosquet, but applied it to a heavy shoulder firearm rather than a cannon; English musket was borrowed soon thereafter from French. The word musket was retained after the original matchlock firing mechanism was replaced by a wheel lock, and the wheel lock by the flintlock. As the practice of rifling firearms-incising the barrel with spiral grooves to improve the bullet's accuracy-became more common, musket gradually gave way to the newer word rifle in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Origin and Etymology of musket
Middle French mousquet, from Old Italian moschetto small artillery piece, sparrow hawk, from diminutive of mosca fly, from Latin musca — more at midge
First Known Use: 1574
MUSKET Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of musket for English Language Learners
: a type of long gun that was used by soldiers before the invention of the rifle
MUSKET Defined for Kids
Definition of musket for Students
: a firearm that is loaded through the muzzle and that was once used by soldiers trained to fight on foot
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