Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A greasy secretion with a powerful odor, produced in a glandular sac in the abdomen of a male musk deer and used in traditional medicines and formerly in the manufacture of perfumes.
  • noun A similar secretion produced by certain other animals, such as an otter or civet.
  • noun A synthetic chemical resembling natural musk in odor or use.
  • noun The odor of musk.
  • noun An odor similar to musk.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To perfume with musk.
  • noun An odoriferous substance secreted by the male musk-deer, Moschus moschiferus. See musk-deer.
  • noun A kind of artificial musk made by the action of nitric acid upon oil of amber.
  • noun 3. The smell of musk, or a smell resembling it; an aromatic smell; a perfume.
  • noun Same as musk-plant, in both senses.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To perfume with musk.
  • noun A substance of a reddish brown color, and when fresh of the consistency of honey, obtained from a bag being behind the navel of the male musk deer. It has a slightly bitter taste, but is specially remarkable for its powerful and enduring odor. It is used in medicine as a stimulant antispasmodic. The term is also applied to secretions of various other animals, having a similar odor.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The musk deer. See Musk deer (below).
  • noun The perfume emitted by musk, or any perfume somewhat similar.
  • noun The musk plant (Mimulus moschatus).
  • noun A plant of the genus Erodium (Erodium moschatum); -- called also musky heron's-bill.
  • noun A plant of the genus Muscari; grape hyacinth.
  • noun (Zoöl.) muskrat (1).
  • noun (Zoöl.) a European longicorn beetle (Aromia moschata), having an agreeable odor resembling that of attar of roses.
  • noun See Bondar.
  • noun (Zoöl.) musk oxen. See Musk ox (below).
  • noun (Zoöl.) a small hornless deer (Moschus moschiferus), which inhabits the elevated parts of Central Asia. The upper canine teeth of the male are developed into sharp tusks, curved downward. The male has scent bags on the belly, from which the musk of commerce is derived. The deer is yellow or red-brown above, whitish below. The pygmy musk deer are chevrotains, as the kanchil and napu.
  • noun (Zoöl.) An Australian duck (Biziura lobata).
  • noun (Zoöl.) the Pacific lorikeet (Glossopsitta australis) of Australia.
  • noun (Bot.) An Asiatic shrub. See Abelmosk.
  • noun (Bot.) a European plant of the Orchis family (Herminium Minorchis); -- so called from its peculiar scent.
  • noun (Zoöl.) an Arctic hollow-horned ruminant (Ovibos moschatus), now existing only in America, but found fossil in Europe and Asia. It is covered with a thick coat of fine yellowish wool, and with long dark hair, which is abundant and shaggy on the neck and shoulders. The full-grown male weighs over four hundred pounds.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Same as Musk lorikeet (above).
  • noun (Bot.) a fragrant kind of pear much resembling the Seckel pear.
  • noun (Bot.) the Mimulus moschatus, a plant found in Western North America, often cultivated, and having a strong musky odor.
  • noun (Bot.) the name of several roots with a strong odor, as that of the nard (Nardostachys Jatamansi) and of a species of Angelica.
  • noun (Bot.) a species of rose (Rosa moschata), having peculiarly fragrant white blossoms.
  • noun (Bot.) the seed of a plant of the Mallow family (Hibiscus moschatus), used in perfumery and in flavoring. See Abelmosk.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the musk ox.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a shrew (Sorex murinus), found in India. It has a powerful odor of musk. Called also sondeli, and mondjourou.
  • noun (Bot.) a species of thistle (Carduus nutans), having fine large flowers, and leaves smelling strongly of musk.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a small American fresh-water tortoise (Armochelys odorata syn. Ozotheca odorata), which has a distinct odor of musk; -- called also stinkpot.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A greasy secretion with a powerful odour, produced in a glandular sac of the male musk deer and used in the manufacture of perfumes.
  • noun A similar secretion produced by the otter and the civet.
  • noun A synthetic organic compound used as a substitute for the above.
  • noun The odour of musk.
  • noun The musk deer.
  • verb transitive To perfume with musk.

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

  • noun the scent of a greasy glandular secretion from the male musk deer
  • noun an odorous glandular secretion from the male musk deer; used as a perfume fixative

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French musc, from Late Latin muscus, from Greek moskhos, from Persian mušk, probably from Sanskrit muṣkaḥ, testicle; see mūs- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin muscus, from Ancient Greek μόσχος, from Middle Persian *mušk; compare Persian مشک (mušk). Ultimately from Sanskrit मुष्क (muṣka, "testicle"), the shape of the gland being similar.

Examples

Comments

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  • "Musk, still used widely in modern perfumery, is the dried abdominal secretion of the Central Asian deer Moschus moschiferus. Confounding the nose as it hits the palate, it has a tinge of feral rankness about it, but its stridency is softened by sugar, rosewater and citrus peel in many of these late sixteenth-century recipes, where it replaced the most luxurious and exotic spices of the past."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 105 (note).


    Another usage/historical note on ambergris. A note about how it was packed (and relative value of it versus other spices) on fondaci. A usage in a translated primary source ca. 900 can be found in comment on perfumer.

    January 9, 2017