musket

play
noun mus·ket \ˈməs-kət\

Definition of musket

  1. :  a heavy large-caliber muzzle-loading usually smoothbore shoulder firearm; broadly :  a shoulder gun carried by infantry

musket was our Word of the Day on 10/14/2013. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of musket from the Web

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.

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

musket

play
noun

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

musket

play
noun mus·ket \ˈmə-skət\

Definition of musket for Students

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


Learn More about musket


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

of or relating to bile

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!