mus·ket | \ˈməs-kət \

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.

Examples of musket in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Thus, the Molly Cutthroats were born — an all-women, skirt-wearing, musket-toting group of Revolutionary War enthusiasts. Laney Ruckstuhl,, "At Patriot’s Day festivities, a group of musket-toting women make a statement," 20 Apr. 2018 Downtown at the Alamo, a party offered visitors free paletas and old-fashioned musket and rifle demonstrations. Brian Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, "Communities come together across San Antonio to celebrate the Fourth," 4 July 2018 Bies and his team could identify the source of the deformed bullet as an Enfield rifle musket. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "Newly Unearthed Civil War Bones Speak Silently to the Grim Aftermath of Battle," 20 June 2018 Meanwhile, thousands of villagers and residents of Maiduguri took up machetes or handmade muskets and joined a self-defence militia, the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), that held the gates of the city. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 The dedication of the historical marker will include an invocation by Archbishop Jerome Listecki, a musket salute, speeches and taps sounded by a bugler. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Historical marker honoring Civil War veterans at Calvary Cemetery to be dedicated on Gettysburg anniversary," 29 June 2018 Well, muskets were fired, proclamations were read, declarations were drafted . . ., "Be a Red Sox for a day, attend a tea ceremony, dance like it’s 1776," 22 June 2018 His three sons, Philo, Samuel and Eliphalet Remington III, kept the family business supplying pistols, carbines, rifles, and muskets to the federal Army and Navy during the war. Kevin Mccoy, USA TODAY, "Remington bankruptcy plan is new wound for 'America's Oldest Gunmaker'," 13 Feb. 2018 Spears, arrows and muskets are also used in reenactments, which can be competitive and thus don't guarantee a specific winning or losing side in advance as a more precise reenactment might. Mauricio Savarese, Fox News, "World Cup host set for historical fencing to forget soccer," 1 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'musket.' 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 musket

1574, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for musket

Middle French mousquet, from Old Italian moschetto small artillery piece, sparrow hawk, from diminutive of mosca fly, from Latin musca — more at midge

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Last Updated

3 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for musket

The first known use of musket was in 1574

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More Definitions for musket



English Language Learners Definition of musket

: a type of long gun that was used by soldiers before the invention of the rifle


mus·ket | \ˈmə-skət \

Kids Definition of musket

: a firearm that is loaded through the muzzle and that was once used by soldiers trained to fight on foot

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Spanish Central: Translation of musket

Nglish: Translation of musket for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about musket

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exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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