muscle

{{11}}muscle (n.) late 14c., from M.Fr. muscle "muscle, sinew" (14c.) and directly from L. musculus "a muscle," lit. "little mouse," dim. of mus "mouse" (see MOUSE (Cf. mouse) (n.)).
So called because the shape and movement of some muscles (notably biceps) were thought to resemble mice. The analogy was made in Greek, too, where mys is both "mouse" and "muscle," and its comb. form gives the medical prefix MYO- (Cf. myo-). Cf. also O.C.S. mysi "mouse," mysica "arm;" Ger. Maus "mouse; muscle," Arabic 'adalah "muscle," 'adal "field mouse." In Middle English, lacerte, from the Latin word for "lizard," also was used as a word for a muscle.
Musclez & lacertez bene one selfe þing, Bot þe muscle is said to þe fourme of mouse & lacert to þe fourme of a lizard. [Guy de Chauliac, "Grande Chirurgie," c.1425]
Hence muscular and mousy are relatives, and a Middle English word for "muscular" was lacertous, "lizardy." Figurative sense of "force, violence, threat of violence" is 1930, American English. Muscle car "hot rod" is from 1969.
{{12}}muscle (v.) 1913, "to accomplish by strength," from MUSCLE (Cf. muscle) (n.). Related: Muscled; muscling. To muscle in is 1929 in underworld slang.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • muscle — [ myskl ] n. m. • 1314; lat. musculus « petit rat » → 2. moule 1 ♦ Anat. Structure organique contractile qui assure les mouvements. ⇒ motricité. Relatif aux muscles. ⇒ musculaire, musculeux; my(o) , sarco . Le muscle est fait de cellules en… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • musclé — muscle [ myskl ] n. m. • 1314; lat. musculus « petit rat » → 2. moule 1 ♦ Anat. Structure organique contractile qui assure les mouvements. ⇒ motricité. Relatif aux muscles. ⇒ musculaire, musculeux; my(o) , sarco . Le muscle est fait de cellules… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Muscle — {{{Caption}}} modifier  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Muscle — is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. There are three types of muscle in the body. Muscle which is responsible for moving extremities and external areas of the body is called "skeletal muscle." Heart… …   Medical dictionary

  • Muscle — Mus cle (m[u^]s l), n. [F., fr. L. musculus a muscle, a little mouse, dim. of mus a mouse. See {Mouse}, and cf. sense 3 (below).] 1. (Anat.) (a) An organ which, by its contraction, produces motion. See Illust. of Muscles of the Human Body, in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • MUSCLE — (multiple sequence comparison by log expectation) is public domain, multiple sequence alignment software for protein and nucleotide sequences.cite journal |author=Edgar RC |title=MUSCLE: multiple sequence alignment with high accuracy and high… …   Wikipedia

  • muscle — MUSCLE. s. m. Partie charnüe & fibreuse, & l organe des mouvements de l animal. Le gros muscle. muscle large. les muscles de la face. les muscles des bras, des jambes &c. le tendon d un muscle. les fibres des muscles. l origine des muscles …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • muscle in on — (something) to force a way into someone s business or other relationships in order to control them. Russell was the governor s closest friend, and he didn t like it when someone tried to muscle in on that relationship. These people pretended to… …   New idioms dictionary

  • muscle — Muscle, Musculus. le muscle, c est à dire, la partie charnue de tout le corps, en laquelle git la force, soit és cuisses ou és bras, Lacertus. Muscle spasmé et retiré, Conuulsus musculus …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • muscle — [mus′əl] n. [Fr < L musculus, a muscle, lit., little mouse (from the fancied resemblance between the movements of a mouse and muscle), dim. of mus,MOUSE] 1. any of the body organs consisting of bundles of cells or fibers that can be contracted …   English World dictionary

  • muscle — mus cle, v. t. 1. To compel by threat of force; as, they muscled the shopkeeper into paying protection money. [PJC] 2. To moved by human force; as, to muscle the piano onto the truck. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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