Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To wrap up, as in a blanket or shawl, for warmth, protection, or secrecy.
  • transitive v. To wrap or pad in order to deaden the sound: muffled the drums.
  • transitive v. To deaden (a sound): The sand muffled the hoofbeats.
  • transitive v. To make vague or obscure: "His message was so muffled by learning and 'artiness'” ( Walter Blair).
  • transitive v. To repress; stifle.
  • n. Something that muffles.
  • n. A kiln or part of a kiln in which pottery can be fired without being exposed to direct flame.
  • n. The fleshy, hairless snout of certain mammals, such as ruminants.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Anything that mutes or deadens sound.
  • n. A warm piece of clothing for the hands.
  • n. A kiln or furnace, often electric, with no direct flames (a muffle furnace)
  • v. To wrap up (a person, face etc.) in fabric or another covering, for warmth or protection.
  • v. To wrap up or cover (a source of noise) in order to deaden the sound.
  • v. To mute or deaden (a sound etc.).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The bare end of the nose between the nostrils; -- used esp. of ruminants.
  • n. Anything with which another thing, as an oar or drum, is muffled; also, a boxing glove; a muff.
  • n. An earthenware compartment or oven, often shaped like a half cylinder, used in furnaces to protect objects heated from the direct action of the fire, as in scorification of ores, cupellation of ore buttons, etc.
  • n. A small oven for baking and fixing the colors of painted or printed pottery, without exposing the pottery to the flames of the furnace or kiln.
  • n. A pulley block containing several sheaves.
  • intransitive v. To speak indistinctly, or without clear articulation.
  • transitive v. To wrap up in something that conceals or protects; to wrap, as the face and neck, in thick and disguising folds; hence, to conceal or cover the face of; to envelop; to inclose; -- often with up.
  • transitive v. To prevent seeing, or hearing, or speaking, by wraps bound about the head; to blindfold; to deafen.
  • transitive v. To wrap or fit with something that dulls or deadens the sound of.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To infold or wrap up, especially in some cloth or woven fabric, so as to conceal from view or protect from the weather; wrap up or cover close, particularly the neck and face; envelop or inwrap in some covering.
  • To blindfold.
  • Figuratively, to wrap up or cover; conceal; involve.
  • To envelop more or less completely in something that deadens sound: used especially of bells, drums, and oars. See muffled.
  • To restrain from speaking by wrapping up the head; put to silence.
  • Synonyms Muzzle, etc. See gag.
  • To mumble; mutter; speak indistinctly.
  • n. The tumid and naked part of the upper lip and nose of ruminants and rodents.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. deaden (a sound or noise), especially by wrapping
  • v. conceal or hide
  • n. a kiln with an inner chamber for firing things at a low temperature

Etymologies

Middle English muflen, possibly from Old French mofler, to stuff, from mofle, glove; see muff2.
French mufle, perhaps blend of moufle, chubby face (from Old French; see muff2) and museau, muzzle (from Old French musel; see muzzle).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English muflen "to muffle", aphetic alteration of Anglo-Norman amoufler, from Old French enmoufler ("to wrap up, muffle"), from moufle ("mitten"), from Medieval Latin muffula ("a muff"), of Germanic origin (—first recorded in the Capitulary of Aachen in 817 CE), from Frankish *muffël "a muff, wrap, envelope" from *muff- "sleeve, wrap" (from Proto-Germanic *mawwō (“sleeve”)) + *vël "skin, hide" (from Proto-Germanic *fellan (“skin, film, fleece”), from Proto-Indo-European *pel(e)(w)-, *plē(w)- (“skin, hide”)). Akin to Middle High German mouwe, mōwe ("sleeve") (German Muff "muff", Dutch mouw "sleeve"). Alternate etymology traces the Medieval Latin word to Frankish *molfell (“soft garment made of hide”) from *mol (“softened, forworn”) (akin to Old High German molawēn "to soften", Middle High German molwic "soft") + *fell (“hide, skin”). Akin to Old High German fel ("fell, skin, hide"), Old English fell ("fell, skin, hide"). More at mulch, fell, camouflage. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • His muffle was a wreck, and such by degrees became the condition of all his apparatus.

    The Land of Midian

  • And all that means is that it's an earthquake, but you have 230 miles of dirt or crust to kind of muffle it a bit.

    CNN Transcript Jul 16, 2007

  • Society-wide measures of religious behavior muffle portentous change that may be occurring at the younger edge of the population, so social prognosticators just like commercial advertisers focus on trends among young adults, trying to discern which aspects of behavior are what they are because the youths are young, and which aspects are what they are because of when they are young.

    American Grace

  • The Black Hawks were specially engineered to muffle the tail rotor and engine sound, two officials said.

    AP: Bin Laden raid was a one-time mission

  • As they grew stronger, she turned into her pillow and tried to muffle the sound in the feathery mass.

    Western Man

  • If there is any noise in the house that wakes him, this will muffle it cut down on the noise that could be waking him up.

    Boot Skootin’ Snot Boogerin’ Nobody’s Sleepin’ Boogie | Her Bad Mother

  • That was all of the incident, but he heard Ruth muffle a dry sob in her throat, and noticed that she turned her face away to gaze out of the window.

    Chapter 26

  • Saxon heard Billy muffle an ejaculation, and saw painted on his face the extremest astonishment.

    CHAPTER VII

  • The hairs on its chin muffle its muttering, and its skin is moist, laughable, and it's big.

    Goat

  • Andrew, a heavyset, 30-ish man with dense carbon-black hair, shuts the door, either to muffle the noise from outside or to make sure no one overhears our conversation.

    The Fall of Mexico

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