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

  • n. An annual period of heightened aggressiveness and sexual activity in male elephants, during which violent frenzies occur.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A time during which male elephants exhibit increased levels of sexual activity and aggressiveness.

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

  • n. an annual phase of heightened sexual excitement in the males of certain large mammals (especially elephants); is associated with discharge from a gland between the eye and ear


Urdu mast, from Persian, drunk, from Middle Persian.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Persian مست (mast, "drunk, inebriated"). (Wiktionary)


  • The exact chemical blend of a pheromone emitted by older male elephants in musth influences both a female elephant's interest in mating and how other surrounding elephants behave, a new study has found.

    December 22nd, 2005

  • The word musth is derived from a Persian word meaning drunk.

    Home | Mail Online

  • Experts have attributed the elephant's behaviour to 'musth' - a state of heightened testosterone-fueled aggression in bull elephants.

    Home | Mail Online

  • Bull elephants, when inclined to mate, enter a frenzied state called musth; they fight with each other for possession of the cow elephants, and become a menace to everything in their path; many humans are killed at this time.

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • (> 25 years) undergo an annual period of sexual activity, known as musth, during which they experience heightened testosterone levels, continuously dribble large quantities of strongly scented urine, become dominant to all other non-musth males, and are the preferred mates of females

    PLoS ONE Alerts: New Articles

  • Alpha most likely gored these elephants because they resisted his sexual advances while he was in a "musth" state, the forest officials said.

    The Earth Times Online Newspaper

  • Experts attribute the behaviour to 'musth' (a state of heightened testosterone-fuelled aggression in bull elephants).

    The Times of India

  • Alpha's behaviour has been blamed on "musth", a surge in the male reproductive hormone testosterone in bull elephants that leads to aggressive behaviour.

    Guardian Online

  • A desperate Rajkumar, in 'musth' (a periodic condition in bull elephants, characterised by highly aggressive behaviour, accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones), went berserk in June 2006 and ran out of his enclosure.


  • Alpha's behaviour has been blamed on "musth," a surge in the male reproductive hormone testosterone in bull elephants that leads to aggressive behaviour.



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  • You're right, it is odd. I assumed it was a perfectly normal romanization of an Indian word containing aspirated [th] or [ʈh], but it's not. The Urdu is mast "mad; drunk", and the expected romanization 'must' was used for most of the nineteenth century. Kipling appears to have stuck on the spurious -h.

    April 17, 2009

  • This is an odd little romanization; the word sounds just like "must".

    April 17, 2009

  • When I saw the definition I immediately suspected sionnach had hacked WeirdNET. But no, this is really what it means!

    December 23, 2007