1. A tissue composed of fibers capable of contracting to effect bodily movement.
2. A contractile organ consisting of a special bundle of muscle tissue, which moves a particular bone, part, or substance of the body: the heart muscle; the muscles of the arm.
3. Muscular strength: enough muscle to be a high jumper.
4. Informal Power or authority: put some muscle into law enforcement.
v. mus·cled, mus·cling, mus·cles
To make one's way by or as if by force: muscled into the conversation.
To move or force with strength: muscled legislation through Congress.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin mūsculus, diminutive of mūs, mouse; see mūs- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.