\ ˈməst How to pronounce musth (audio) \
variants: or less commonly must

Definition of musth

: a periodic state of the bull elephant characterized especially by aggressive behavior and usually connected with the rutting season

Examples of musth in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Bull elephants in musth can be aggressive and attack. New York Times, "A Flying Elephant, a Teacher’s Hugs: 12 Tales of Pandemic Resilience," 24 Dec. 2020 The researchers were ostensibly trying to incite a state called musth: a period of intense aggression in bull elephants where testosterone spikes. Popular Science, "How much acid should you give an elephant? These scientists learned the hard way.," 13 Feb. 2020 The onset of musth typically occurs when males are between 20 and 40 years old. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "The world responded to this captive elephant’s plight. Now he has a new life.," 7 Aug. 2019 Males in musth are so attractive to females that almost 80 percent of calves in the same population are sired by them, according to a 2007 study. Grant Currin, National Geographic, "Elderly male elephants are the most determined to mate," 2 July 2019 Females live in matriarchal groups, and males tend to live in separate groups until going into musth. Grant Currin, National Geographic, "Elderly male elephants are the most determined to mate," 2 July 2019 Sometimes, elephants in musth are paraded in festivals. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "This elephant-obsessed Indian state is finally stepping in to protect abused captive animals," 13 June 2019 Despite the male—or bull—elephant's seemingly playful behavior, the video also suggests the animal is in a period of musth. National Geographic, "Watch: Elephant 'Plays' With a Police Car and a Pack of Wild Dogs," 28 July 2017 When the elephants come out of their musth, the mahouts believe the elephants have forgotten their commands. National Geographic, "New Film Shows Brutalization of Temple Elephants in India," 25 May 2016

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

1878, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for musth

Hindi & Urdu mast intoxicated, from Persian

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Cite this Entry

“Musth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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