American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A tissue composed of fibers capable of contracting to effect bodily movement.
- n. 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.
- n. Muscular strength: enough muscle to be a high jumper.
- n. Informal Power or authority: put some muscle into law enforcement.
- v. To make one's way by or as if by force: muscled into the conversation.
- v. To move or force with strength: muscled legislation through Congress.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A kind of animal tissue consisting of bundles of fibers whose essential physiological characteristic is contractility, or the capability of contracting in length and dilating in breadth on the application of a proper stimulus, as the impulse of a motor nerve, or a shock of electricity; flesh; “lean meat.” By such change of form, the muscles become the immediate means of motion of the different parts of the body, and of locomotion of the body as a whole.
- n. A certain portion of muscle or muscular tissue, having definite position and relation with surrounding parts, and usually fixed at one or both ends. Any one of the separate masses or bundles of muscular fibers constitutes a muscle, which as a whole and in its subdivisions is enveloped in fascial connective tissue and usually attached to the part to be moved by means of a tendon or sinew. Muscles are for the most part attached to bones, with the periosteum of which their tendons are directly continuous. The most extensive or most fixed attachment of a muscle is usually called its origin; the opposite end is its insertion. Individual muscles not only change their shape during contraction, but are of endlessly varied shapes when at rest, indicated by descriptive terms, as conical, fusiform, penniform, digastric, deltoid, etc., besides which each muscle has its specific name. Such names are given from the attachments of the muscle, as sternoclidomastoid, omohyoid; or from function, as flexor, extensor; or from position, as pectoral, gluteal; or from shape, as deltoid, trapezoid; or from some other quality or attribute, in an arbitrary manner. Circular muscles are those whose fibers return upon themselves; they constitute sphincters, as of the mouth, eyelids, and anus. The swelling part of a muscle is called its belly; when there are two such, separated by an intervening tendon, the muscle is double-bellied or digastric. Muscles whose fibers are set obliquely upon an axial tendon are penniform or bipenniform. Muscles whose fibers are all parallel are called
simpleor rectilinear; those whose fibers intersect or cross each other are called compound. Muscles which act in opposition to one another are termed antagonistic those which concur in the same action are termed congenerous.; Muscles subject to the will are voluntary; their fibers are striped, and they compose the great bulk of the muscular system. Involuntary muscles are not subject to the will; they are generally unstriped, though the heart is an exception to this. Hollow organs whose walls are notably muscular, as the heart, intestine, bladder, and womb, are called hollow muscles. Striped or voluntary muscle is sometimes called muscle of animal life, as distinguished from unstriped involuntary muscle of organic life.
- n. A part, organ, or tissue, of whatever histological character, which has the property of contractility, and is thus capable of motion in itself.
- n. Figuratively, muscular strength; brawn: as, a man of muscle.
- n. See the adjectives.
- n. See mussel.
- n. uncountable A contractile form of tissue which animals use to effect movement.
- n. countable An organ composed of muscle tissue.
- n. uncountable, usually plural A well-developed physique, in which the muscles are enlarged from exercise.
- n. uncountable, figuratively Strength.
- n. uncountable Hired strongmen or bodyguards.
- v. To use force to make progress, especially physical force.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. An organ which, by its contraction, produces motion.
- n. The contractile tissue of which muscles are largely made up.
- n. colloq. Muscular strength or development.
- n. (Zoöl.) See Mussel.
- n. An essential part of something.
- n. slang Bodyguards or other persons hired to provide protection or commit violence.
- v. To compel by threat of force.
- v. To moved by human force.
- n. authority or power or force (especially when used in a coercive way)
- n. animal tissue consisting predominantly of contractile cells
- n. possessing muscular strength
- n. one of the contractile organs of the body
- n. a bully employed as a thug or bodyguard
- v. make one's way by force
- From French muscle, from Latin mūsculus ("a muscle", literally "little mouse"), because of the mouselike appearance of some muscles, from Ancient Greek μῦς (mus, "mouse, muscle, mussel"). Cognate with Old English mūs ("mouse", also "muscle"). More at mouse. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old French, from Latin mūsculus, diminutive of mūs, mouse; see mūs- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The child who is spastic has muscle stiffness, or muscle tension.”
“It will be well to note that the two shells of an oyster, which are called _valves_, are held together by a single muscle, known as the _adductor muscle_, that lies near the center, and that this muscle must be cut before the shell will open readily.”
“Between the ciliary processes and the sclerotic coat is a small muscle, containing both circular and longitudinal fibers, called the _ciliary muscle_.”
“Brad Radke will not be ready to return to the mound when he's eligible to come off the DL Saturday, as his pulled groin muscle is worse than it was when he first injured it.”
“The term muscle signifies every organ of the human body which, by contraction, produces the movements of the organism.”
“Sir Charles Bell, who wrote the book about the Hand, used the term muscle sense and I suspect you would have to be interested in the human hand and body for any of this to be meaningful to you.”
“Kind of gives new meaning to the term muscle-head.”
“RICHARD BURT, SPECIAL AGENT FOR FLIGHT PROGRAMS: There's defensive measures, there's judgmental shooting, and it makes them think and respond and develop what we call a muscle memory.”
“BROWN: Hey, this is what we call the muscle flex, because it really does demonstrate the muscle that you have behind you, Wolf.”
“If the stimulus be repeated, the muscle makes a new twitch, apparently resembling the preceding one; and if the muscle is attached to a suitable connecting lever, the several twitches give the same effect as the strokes of a piston in a steam-engine.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘muscle’.
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