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    mouthy (adj.) — Mulligan (n.)

    mouthy (adj.)

    "characterized by ranting or bombastic language," 1580s, from mouth (n.) + -y (2).ETD mouthy (adj.).2

    mouthpiece (n.)

    also mouth-piece, 1680s, "casting fitted on an open end of a pipe, etc.," from mouth (n.) + piece (n.1). Meaning "piece of a musical instrument that goes in the mouth" is from 1776. Sense of "one who speaks on behalf of others" is from 1805; in the specific sense of "lawyer" it is attested by 1857.ETD mouthpiece (n.).2

    mouthwash (n.)

    also mouth-wash, "therapeutic wash for the mouth," 1801, from mouth (n.) + wash (n.).ETD mouthwash (n.).2

    mouth-watering (adj.)

    "enticing," literally "causing an increased flow of saliva in the mouth" (as at the mere sight of food by one who is hungry), 1822, from mouth (n.) + water (v.).ETD mouth-watering (adj.).2

    mouton enrage (n.)

    "A normally calm person who has become suddenly enraged or violent" [OED], 1932, from French mouton enragé, literally "angry sheep." See mutton + enrage.ETD mouton enrage (n.).2

    movable (adj.)

    also moveable, late 14c., "disposed to movement;" c. 1400, "capable of being moved," from Old French movable, from moveir (see move (v.)). A moveable feast (early 15c.) is one in the Church calendar which, though always on the same day of the week, varies its date from year to year. Related: Movability.ETD movable (adj.).2

    moving (adj.)

    late 14c., "that moves," present-participle adjective from move (v.). From 1650s as "that causes motion;" 1590s as "that touches the feelings." Moving picture in the cinematographic sense is by 1896 (earlier in reference to the zoetrope, 1709). Moving Day is by 1832, American English; traditionally in New York city it was May 1. Moving target (1833) is from gunnery.ETD moving (adj.).2

    move (v.)

    late 13c., meven, in various senses (see below), from Anglo-French mover, Old French movoir "to move, get moving, set out; set in motion; introduce" (Modern French mouvoir), from Latin movere "move, set in motion; remove; disturb" (past participle motus, frequentative motare), from PIE root *meue- "to push away."ETD move (v.).2

    Of the physical meanings, the earliest in English (late 13c.) is the intransitive one of "change one's place or posture, stir, shift; move the body; move from one's place, change position. That of "to go (from one place to another), journey, travel; set out, proceed" is from c. 1300. The transitive sense of "cause to change place or position; shift; dislodge; set in motion" is from late 14c., as is that of "impart motion to, impel; set or sustain in motion." The intransitive sense of "pass from place to place; journey; travel; change position continuously or occasionally" is from c. 1300.ETD move (v.).3

    The emotional, figurative, and non-material senses also are mostly from Middle English: The earliest is "excite to action; influence; induce; incite; arouse; awaken" the senses or mental faculties or emotions (late 13c.); specifically "affect (someone) emotionally, rouse to pity or tenderness" by early 14c. Hence also "influence (someone, to do something), guide, prompt or impel toward some action" (late 14c.).ETD move (v.).4

    The sense of "propose; bring forward; offer formally; submit," as a motion for consideration by a deliberative assembly" is by early 15c. Sense of "to change one's place of residence" is from 1707. In chess, checkers, and similar games, "to change the position of a piece in the course of play," late 15c. Commercial sense of "sell, cause to be sold" is by 1900.ETD move (v.).5

    The policeman's order to move on is attested by 1831. To move heaven and earth "make extraordinary efforts" is by 1798. Related: Moved; moving.ETD move (v.).6

    move (n.)

    mid-15c., "a proposal" (a sense now obsolete), from move (v.). From 1650s in chess, checkers, etc. Meaning "act of moving from a stationary position, a change of position or relation" is by 1827. Meaning "a change of habitation" is by 1853. Meaning "a particular action or motion" is by 1939. Phrase on the move "in the process of going from one place to another" is by 1779; get a move on "hurry up" is American English colloquial from 1888 (also, and perhaps originally, get a move on you).ETD move (n.).2

    movement (n.)

    late 14c., mevement, "change of position; passage from place to place," from Old French movement "movement, exercise; start, instigation" (Modern French mouvement), from Medieval Latin movimentum, from Latin movere "to move, set in motion" (from PIE root *meue- "to push away"). In the musical sense of "major division of a piece" it is attested from 1776; in the political/artistic/social sense of "course of acts and endeavors by a body of persons toward some specific end" is from 1828. Related: Movements.ETD movement (n.).2

    mover (n.)

    late 14c., mevere, "one who sets (something) in motion," agent noun from move (v.). Originally of God. Meaning "one who moves goods as a profession" is from 1838. The figurative phrase movers and shakers "those with the power to shape or set the course of a society or people" is attested from 1874, originally specifically "music-makers," but that perhaps isn't what is now meant.ETD mover (n.).2

    movies (n.)

    "moving pictures," 1912, see movie.ETD movies (n.).2

    movie (n.)

    1912 (perhaps 1908), shortened form of moving picture in the cinematographic sense (1896). As an adjective from 1913. Movie star attested from 1913. Another early name for it was photoplay.ETD movie (n.).2

    mow (v.)

    Old English mawan "to cut (grass, etc.) with a scythe or other sharp instrument" (class VII strong verb; past tense meow, past participle mawen), from Proto-Germanic *mæanan (source also of Middle Low German maeyen, Dutch maaien, Old High German maen, German mähen "to mow," Old English mæd "meadow"), from PIE root *me- (4) "to cut down grass or grain." Related: Mowed; mown; mowing.ETD mow (v.).2

    mow (n.)

    "stack of hay," Old English muga, muwa "a heap (of grain, pease, etc.), swath of corn; crowd of people," earlier muha, from Proto-Germanic *mugon (source also of Old Norse mugr "a heap," mostr "crowd"), of uncertain origin. Meaning "place in a barn where hay or sheaves of grain are stored" is by 1755.ETD mow (n.).2

    mower (n.)

    early 14c., "one who cuts grass with a scythe," agent noun from mow (v.). Mechanical sense is from 1852.ETD mower (n.).2

    moxie (n.)

    "courage," 1930, from Moxie, brand name of a bitter, non-alcoholic drink, 1885, perhaps as far back as 1876 as the name of a patent medicine advertised to "build up your nerve." Despite legendary origin stories put out by the company that made it, it is perhaps ultimately from a New England Indian word (it figures in river and lake names in Maine, where it is apparently from Abenaki and means "dark water"). Much-imitated in its day; in 1917 the Moxie Company won an infringement suit against a competitor's beverage marketed as "Proxie."ETD moxie (n.).2


    country in southeastern Africa, former Portuguese colony, from a Portuguese corruption of Arabic musa malik "King Musa," the name of an early African ruler there. Related: Mozambican; Mozambiquer.ETD Mozambique.2

    Mozarab (n.)

    "assimilated Christian in Moorish Spain," one who was allowed to continue practicing his religion in exchange for political allegiance, from Spanish Mozarabe "would-be Arab," from Arabic mostarib, from a desiderative verbal form of Arab. Related: Mozarabian (1706); Mozarabic.ETD Mozarab (n.).2

    mozzarella (n.)

    kind of soft, white Italian cheese originally made in Naples area, 1911, from Italian mozzarella, diminutive of mozza "slice, slice of cheese," from mozzare "to cut off," from Vulgar Latin *mutius "cut off, blunted," which is related to Latin mutilus "maimed" (see mutilation). There is an isolated 1881 use, as an Italian word in English, in a U.S. consulate report from Italy.ETD mozzarella (n.).2


    1917, abbreviation of military police, which is recorded from 1827. By 1809 as an abbreviation of Member of Parliament.ETD M.P..2


    originally m.p.g., abbreviation of miles per gallon, attested from 1912.ETD mpg.2


    also m.p.h., abbreviation of miles per hour, attested from 1887.ETD mph.2


    mid-15c., abbreviation of master (n.); also see mister. Used from 1814 with a following noun or adjective, to denote "the exemplar or embodiment of that quality," as in Mr. Right "the only man a woman wishes to marry" (1826); Mr. Fix-It "one skilled in setting right difficult situations" (1912); Mr. Big "head of an organization; important man" (1940). The Procter & Gamble advertising character Mr. Clean dates from 1959. The plural Messrs. (1779) is an abbreviation of French messieurs, plural of monsieur, used in English to supply the plural of Mr., which is lacking.ETD Mr..2


    1580s, abbreviation of mistress (q.v.), originally in all uses of that word. Prefixed to the name of a married woman by 1610s. The plural Mmes. is an abbreviation of French mesdames, plural of madame, used in English to serve as the plural of Mrs., which is lacking. Pronunciation "missis" was considered vulgar at least into 18c. (compare missus). The Mrs. "one's wife" is from 1920.ETD Mrs..2


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "short."ETD *mregh-u-.2

    It forms all or part of: abbreviate; abbreviation; abridge; amphibrach; brace; bracelet; brachio-; brachiopod; brachiosaurus; brachy-; brassiere; breviary; brevity; brief; brumal; brume; embrace; merry; mirth; pretzel; vambrace.ETD *mregh-u-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek brakhys "short;" Latin brevis "short, low, little, shallow;" Old Church Slavonic bruzeja "shallow places, shoals;" Gothic gamaurgjan "to shorten."ETD *mregh-u-.4


    (plural Mses.), in modern continuous use from about 1949, considered a blend of Miss and Mrs. The abbreviation had appeared or been suggested before in this sense, since at least c. 1900.ETD Ms..2

    MSG (n.)

    abbreviation of monosodium glutamate, attested by 1959.ETD MSG (n.).2


    Slavic masc. proper name, literally "vengeful fame," from Russian mstit' "to take revenge," from Proto-Slavic *misti "revenge," *mistiti "to take revenge," from PIE *mit-ti-, extended form of root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move;" for second element, see Slav.ETD Mstislav.2

    much (adj.)

    c. 1200, "great in quantity or extent" (also "great in size, big, large," a sense now obsolete), a worn-down form (by loss of unaccented last syllable) of Middle English muchel "large, tall; many, in a large amount; great, formidable," from Old English micel "great in amount or extent," from Proto-Germanic *mekilaz, from PIE root *meg- "great."ETD much (adj.).2

    As a noun, "a large quantity, a great deal," and as an adverb, "in a great degree, intensely, extensively," from c. 1200. Since 17c. the adverb has been much-used as a prefix to participial forms to make compound adjectives. For vowel evolution, see bury. Too much was used from late 14c. in the senses "astonishing, incredible," also "too offensive, unforgivable." Much-what "various things, this and that" (late 14c.) was "Very common in the 17th c." [OED] and turns up in an 1899 book of Virginia folk-speech as well as "Ulysses."ETD much (adj.).3

    muchness (n.)

    late 14c., mochenes, "largeness of size" (a sense now obsolete); c. 1400, "greatness of number or degree; state of being great in quantity or extent," from much + -ness. Earlier was Middle English muchelnesse (c. 1200). Phrase much of a muchness "of about the same importance or value" is attested from 1728.ETD muchness (n.).2

    muchly (adv.)

    "greatly, much," 1620s, from much + -ly (2). Now obsolete or slang. Middle English simply used much as an adverb.ETD muchly (adv.).2

    mucilage (n.)

    late 14c., mussillage, "viscous substance found in vegetable material," from Old French mucilage (14c.) and directly from Late Latin mucilago "musty or moldy juice" (4c.), from Latin mucere "be musty or moldy," from mucus "mucus" (see mucus). Meaning "adhesive gum" is attested by 1859.ETD mucilage (n.).2

    mucilaginous (adj.)

    early 15c., "viscous, sticky; slimy and ropy," from Medieval Latin muscilaginosus, from Late Latin mucilaginosus, from mucilago (see mucilage). Related: Mucilaginously; mucilaginousness.ETD mucilaginous (adj.).2

    muck (n.)

    mid-13c., muk, "animal or human excrement; cow dung and vegetable matter spread as manure," from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse myki, mykr "cow dung," Danish møg; from Proto-Germanic *muk-, *meuk- "soft," which is perhaps related to Old English meox "dung, filth" (see mash (n.)). Meaning "unclean matter generally" is from c. 1300; that of "wet, slimy mess" is by 1766. Muck-sweat "profuse sweat" is attested from 1690s.ETD muck (n.).2

    muck (v.)

    late 14c., mukken, "to dig in the ground," also "to remove manure;" c. 1400, "to spread manure, cover with muck," from muck (n.) or Old Norse moka (n.). Mucker "one who removes muck from stables" is attested by early 13c. as a surname. Meaning "to make dirty" is from 1832; in the figurative sense, "to make a mess of," it is from 1886; to muck about "mess around" is from 1856. To muck (something) up is by 1896 as "to dirty, soil;" 1922 as "make a mess of." Related: Mucked; mucking.ETD muck (v.).2

    muck-a-muck (n.)

    "(self-)important person," 1912, short for Chinook jargon high muck-a-muck, literally "plenty of food" from muckamuck "food" (1847), which is of unknown origin. Also mucky-muck; muckety-muck.ETD muck-a-muck (n.).2

    muckluck (n.)

    also mukluk, 1868, "sealskin, sealskin boots" from Eskimo maklak "large seal, sealskin." Meaning "canvas boots that resemble Eskimo ones" is from 1962.ETD muckluck (n.).2

    muck-raker (n.)

    also muckraker, c. 1600, "one who rakes muck" (earliest use is in a figurative sense: "a miser"), from muck-rake "rake for scraping muck or filth" (mid-14c.), from muck (n.) + rake (n.). The figurative meaning "one who inquires into and publishes scandal and allegations of corruption among political and business leaders" was popularized 1906 in speech by President Theodore Roosevelt, in reference to the "man ... with a Muckrake in his hand" in Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" (1684) who seeks worldly gain by raking filth.ETD muck-raker (n.).2

    Muck-rake (n.) in sense "person who hunts scandal" is attested from 1872. To muck-rake (v.) in the literal sense is from 1879; figuratively from 1910. Related: Muck-raking.ETD muck-raker (n.).3

    mucose (adj.)

    "mucous, slimy, covered with mucus," 1731, from Latin mucosus (see mucous). Related: Mucosity (1680s).ETD mucose (adj.).2

    mucous (adj.)

    "containing or resembling slime or mucus," 1640s (replacing mucilaginous), from Latin mucosus "slimy, mucous," from mucus (see mucus). Related: mucosity.ETD mucous (adj.).2

    mucus (n.)

    "viscid fluid secreted by the mucous membranes of animals," 1660s (replacing Middle English mucilage), from Latin mucus "slime, mold, mucus of the nose, snot," from PIE root *meug- "slippery, slimy," with derivatives referring to wet or slimy substances or conditions (source also of Latin emungere "to sneeze out, blow one's nose," mucere "be moldy or musty," Greek myssesthai "to blow the nose," myxa "mucus;" Sanskrit muncati "he releases"). Old English had horh, which may be imitative.ETD mucus (n.).2

    mud (n.)

    late 14c., mudde, "moist, soft earth," cognate with and probably from Middle Low German mudde, Middle Dutch modde "thick mud," from Proto-Germanic *mud- from PIE *(s)meu-/*mu- [Buck], found in many words denoting "wet" or "dirty" (source also of Greek mydos "damp, moisture," Old Irish muad "cloud," Polish muł "slime," Sanskrit mutra- "urine," Avestan muthra- "excrement, filth"); related to German Schmutz "dirt," which also is used for "mud" in roads, etc., to avoid dreck, which originally meant "excrement." Welsh mwd is from English. The older word is fen.ETD mud (n.).2

    Meaning "lowest or worst of anything" is from 1580s. As a word for "coffee," it is hobo slang from 1925; as a word for "opium" from 1922. Mud-puppy "salamander" is by 1855, American English; the mud-dauber wasp was so called by 1856. The children's mud-pie is attested from 1788. Mud-flat "muddy, low-lying ground near a shore" is by 1779. Mud-room "room for removing wet or muddy footwear" is by 1938.ETD mud (n.).3

    The expression clear as mud (that is, "not clear at all") is by 1796. To throw or hurl mud "make disgraceful accusations" is from 1762. To say (one's) name is mud and mean "(one) is discredited" is recorded from 1823, from mud in obsolete sense of "a stupid twaddling fellow" (1708). Mud in your eye as a toast is recorded from 1912, American English.ETD mud (n.).4

    mud-bath (n.)

    "mud transfused with saline or other ingredients at mineral springs, into which patients suffering from rheumatism, etc., immerse themselves," 1798, from mud (n.) + bath (n.).ETD mud-bath (n.).2

    mudder (n.)

    "horse that runs well in muddy conditions," 1903, from mud (n.).ETD mudder (n.).2

    muddy (adj.)

    late 13c., in place names, "abounding in or covered with mud," from mud + -y (2). Meaning "not clear or pure in color" is from 1580s; extended to sounds by 1960s. Big Muddy as a nickname for the Missouri or Mississippi river is attested by 1825. Related: Muddily; muddiness.ETD muddy (adj.).2

    muddy (v.)

    "to make muddy, bury or cover with mud," c. 1600, from muddy (adj.). Related: Muddied; muddying. The earlier verb was simply mud (1590s); muddify is attested from 1789.ETD muddy (v.).2

    muddle (v.)

    1590s, "destroy the clarity of" (a transferred sense); literal sense ("to bathe in mud") is from c. 1600; perhaps frequentative formation from mud, or from Dutch moddelen "to make (water) muddy," from the same Proto-Germanic source. Sense of "to make muddy" is from 1670s; that of "make confused, bewilder" is recorded by 1680s. Meaning "to bungle" is from 1885. Related: Muddled; muddling.ETD muddle (v.).2

    muddle (n.)

    "intellectual confusion, bewilderment," 1818, from muddle (v.).ETD muddle (n.).2

    muddle-headed (adj.)

    "confused; stupid," 1759; see muddle (v) + head (n.).ETD muddle-headed (adj.).2

    mudfish (n.)

    "fish which lives or burrows in mud," c. 1500, from mud (n.) + fish (n.).ETD mudfish (n.).2

    mud-flap (n.)

    "piece of rubber behind the wheel of a vehicle to prevent mud from splashing," 1903, from mud (n.) + flap (n.).ETD mud-flap (n.).2

    mud-hole (n.)

    also mudhole, "place full of mud," 1760, from mud (n.) + hole (n.).ETD mud-hole (n.).2

    mudsill (n.)

    1680s, "foundation beam of a dam, railroad, house, or other structure," from mud + sill. The word entered U.S. political history in a figurative sense in a speech by James M. Hammond (1807-1864) of South Carolina, March 4, 1858, in the U.S. Senate, alluding to the necessary lowest class of society. In the speech he also took the ground that Northern white laborers were slaves in fact, if not in name. The term subsequently was embraced by Northern workers in the pre-Civil War sectional rivalry.ETD mudsill (n.).2

    muenster (n.)

    type of semi-soft, strong-flavored cow's-milk cheese, 1902, from Münster, mountain valley in Alsace, where it is made; the place name is German, literally "minster."ETD muenster (n.).2

    muesli (n.)

    breakfast dish of oats, fruit, and nuts, eaten with milk or yogurt, 1926, from Swiss-German, from Old High German muos "meal, mush-like food," from Proto-Germanic *mod-sa-, from PIE root *mad- "moist, wet," with derivatives referring to various qualities of food (see mast (n.2)).ETD muesli (n.).2

    muezzin (n.)

    "official who calls Muslims to prayer from the minaret of a mosque," 1580s, from Arabic muadhdhin, properly active participle of adhdhana, frequentative of adhanna "he proclaimed," from uthn "ear." Compare Hebrew he'ezin "he gave ear, heard," from ozen "ear." The English spelling is from dialectal use of -z- for -dh-.ETD muezzin (n.).2

    muff (n.)

    1590s, "covering into which both hands may be thrust to keep them warm," from Dutch mof "a muff," shortened from Middle Dutch moffel "mitten, muff," from French moufle "mitten," from Old French mofle "thick glove, large mitten, handcuffs" (9c.), from Medieval Latin muffula "a muff," a word of unknown origin.ETD muff (n.).2

    Meaning "vulva and pubic hair" is from 1690s; muff-diver "one who performs cunnilingus" is from 1935.ETD muff (n.).3

    muff (v.)

    "to bungle, perform clumsily or badly," by 1840, said to be from pugilism slang, probably related to muff (n.) "awkward person, simpleton" (1837), which is perhaps from muff (n.) on notion of someone clumsy because his hands are in a muff. Related: Muffed; muffing. The noun meaning "anything done in clumsy or bungling fashion" is by 1871.ETD muff (v.).2

    muffin (n.)

    "a small, light, round, spongy cake made with eggs," usually eaten buttered and toasted, 1703, moofin, possibly from Low German muffen, plural of muffe "small cake;" or somehow connected with Old French moflet "soft, tender" (said of bread). The historical distinction of the muffin from the crumpet is not entirely clear and the subject is involved. In American English the word was extended to a sort of cup-shaped bun or cake (often with blueberries, chocolate chips, etc.); hence muffin top "waistline bulge over tight, low jeans" (by 2005), from resemblance to baked muffins from a tin. Muffin-man "street seller of muffins" is attested by 1754.ETD muffin (n.).2

    muffle (n.)

    "thing that muffles," 1560s, from muffle (v.). Originally "a muffler" (in the old sense), "a wrap for the lower face and neck." Meaning "a cover or wrap used to deaden sound" is by 1734.ETD muffle (n.).2

    muffle (v.)

    early 15c., "to cover or wrap (something) to conceal or protect," perhaps from Old French moufle "thick glove, mitten;" see muff (n.). Compare Old French enmoufle "wrapped up;" Middle French mofler "to stuff." The meaning "wrap something up to deaden sound" is recorded by 1761. Related: Muffled; muffling. Muffled oars have mats or canvas about their shafts to prevent noise from contact with the oarlocks while rowing.ETD muffle (v.).2

    muffler (n.)

    1530s, "a kind of wrap or scarf for the throat and lower part of the face," agent noun from muffle (v.). Mechanical sense of "any device used to deaden sound" is by 1856; specifically as "automobile exhaust system silencer" it is attested from 1895.ETD muffler (n.).2

    mufti (n.1)

    1580s, muphtie "official head of the state religion in Turkey," from Arabic mufti "judge," active participle (with formative prefix mu-) of afta "to give," conjugated form of fata "he gave a (legal) decision" (compare fatwa).ETD mufti (n.1).2

    mufti (n.2)

    "ordinary clothes, citizen's dress worn by officers when off duty," a British army term from India, 1816, of uncertain origin, perhaps from mufti (n.1) in reference to mufti's costume of robe and slippers in stage plays, if this was thought to resemble plain clothes.ETD mufti (n.2).2

    mug (n.1)

    "small, cylindrical drinking vessel, often with a handle," 1560s, "bowl, pot, jug," a word of unknown origin, perhaps from Scandinavian (compare Swedish mugg "earthen cup, jug," Norwegian mugge "pitcher, open can for warm drinks"), or Low German mokke, mukke "mug," also of unknown origin.ETD mug (n.1).2

    Hence mug-hunter (1883) "one who enters sporting contests solely to win prizes" (frequently in the form of engraved cups), a term of contempt.ETD mug (n.1).3

    mug (v.1)

    "to beat up," 1818, originally "to strike the face" (in pugilism), from mug (n.2) "face." The general meaning "attack" is attested by 1846, and "attack to rob" by 1864. Perhaps influenced by cognate thieves' slang mug "dupe, fool, sucker" (1851). Related: Mugged; mugging.ETD mug (v.1).2

    mug (n.2)

    "a person's mouth or face," 1708, possibly an extended sense of mug (n.1), based on the old drinking mugs shaped like grotesque faces, popular in England from 17c. The sense of "portrait or photograph in police records" had emerged by 1873.ETD mug (n.2).2

    Hence mug-shot (by 1950).ETD mug (n.2).3

    The meaning "stupid or incompetent person, dupe, fool, sucker" is by 1851 in thieves' slang; hence "a person" generally (especially "a criminal"), by 1890. Mug's game "foolish, thankless, or unprofitable activity" is by 1890.ETD mug (n.2).4

    mug (v.2)

    "make exaggerated facial expressions," 1855, originally theatrical slang, from mug (n.2) "face." Related: Mugged; mugging.ETD mug (v.2).2

    mugging (n.)

    1846, "a beating;" by 1939 as "a violent physical robbery;" verbal noun from mug (v.1). As "grimmacing, making faces," 1937, from mug (v.2).ETD mugging (n.).2

    mugger (n.)

    "one who commits violent robbery," 1865, agent noun from mug (v.1).ETD mugger (n.).2

    muggy (adj.)

    "damp and close, warm and humid," 1746, with -y (2) + obsolete mug "a fog, mist," from Middle English mugen "to drizzle" (of a fog or a mist, late 14c.), from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse mugga "drizzling mist," which is possibly from PIE *meug- "slimy, slippery" (see mucus).ETD muggy (adj.).2

    muggins (n.)

    "fool, simpleton," 1855, of unknown origin, apparently from the surname and perhaps influenced by slang mug "dupe, fool" (1851; see mug (n.2)). It also was the name of simple card game (1855) and the word each player tried to call out before the other in the game when two cards matched. The name turns up frequently in humor magazines, "comic almanacks," etc. in 1840s and 1850s.ETD muggins (n.).2

    muggle (n.2)

    c. 1200, "a fish-tail," also, apparently, "a person with a fish-tail" (only as a surname), a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from Latin mugil "mullet."ETD muggle (n.2).2

    muggle (n.1)

    "marijuana, a joint," 1926, apparently originally a New Orleans word, of unknown origin.ETD muggle (n.1).2

    Muggletonian (n.)

    1660s, member of the Protestant sect founded c. 1651 by English tailor Lodowicke Muggleton (1609-1698) and John Reeve. Members believed in the prophetic inspiration of the two founders as being the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation xi.3-6. Members were still living in the 1860s.ETD Muggletonian (n.).2


    variant transliteration of mogul (n.1).ETD Mughal.2

    mug-shot (n.)

    also mugshot, "photograph taken by police of a person after an arrest for identification purposes," 1950; see mug (n.2) "a person's face" + shot (n.) in the photographic sense.ETD mug-shot (n.).2

    mugwort (n.)

    the plant Artemisia vulgaris, Old English mugcwyrt, literally "midge wort," from Proto-Germanic *muggiwurti, from *muggjo- "fly" (see midge) + *wurtiz (see wort).ETD mugwort (n.).2

    mugwump (n.)

    a jocular word for "great man, boss, important person," 1832, American English (originally New England), from Algonquian (Natick) mugquomp "important person" (derived from mugumquomp "war leader"). By 1840 it was in satirical use as "one who thinks himself important." It was revived from 1884 in reference to Republicans who refused to support James G. Blaine's presidential candidacy, originally as a term of abuse but the independents embraced it. Hence "one who holds himself aloof from party politics."ETD mugwump (n.).2


    by 1896, a correction of Mohammed (1610s), the Arabic masc. proper name, literally "the Praiseworthy," name of the prophet of Islam (c. 570-632). The earliest forms of his name in English were Mahum, Mahimet (c. 1200). The word in English was originally also used confusedly for "an idol." Wycliffe has Macamethe (c. 1380), and Makomete also turns up in 14c. documents. Mahomet was common until 19c.; see Mohammed. The story of Muhammad and the mountain is told in English by the 1620s.ETD Muhammad.2

    mujahidin (n.)

    also mujahideen, "Muslim fundamentalist guerrilla," 1958, in a Pakistani context, from Persian and Arabic, plural of mujahid "one who fights in a jihad" (q.v.); in modern use, "Muslim guerrilla insurgent."ETD mujahidin (n.).2

    mulatto (n.)

    1590s, "one who is the offspring of a European and a black African," from Spanish or Portuguese mulato "of mixed breed," literally "young mule," from mulo "mule," from Latin mulus (fem. mula) "mule" (see mule (n.1)); possibly in reference to hybrid origin of mules (compare Greek hēmi-onos "a mule," literally "a half-ass;" as an adjective, "one of mixed race"). As an adjective from 1670s. Fem. mulatta is attested from 1620s; mulattress from 1805.ETD mulatto (n.).2

    Old English had sunderboren "born of disparate parents."ETD mulatto (n.).3

    mulberry (n.)

    c. 1300, "tree of the genus Morus;" mid-14c. in reference to a berry from the tree; an alteration of morberie (13c.) from or cognate with Middle High German mul-beri (alteration by dissimilation of Old High German mur-beri, Modern German Maulbeere); both from Latin morum "mulberry, blackberry" + Old English berie, Old High German beri "berry."ETD mulberry (n.).2

    The Latin word probably is from Greek moron "mulberry," from PIE *moro- "blackberry, mulberry" (source also of Armenian mor "blackberry," Middle Irish merenn, Welsh merwydden "mulberry"). As a color-name by 1837. The children's singing game with a chorus beginning "Here we go round the mulberry bush" is attested by 1820s, first in Scotland.ETD mulberry (n.).3

    mulch (n.)

    "strawy dung, loose earth, leaves, etc., spread on the ground to protect shoots or newly planted shrubs," 1650s, probably a noun use of Middle English molsh (adj.) "soft, moist" (mid-15c.), from Old English melsc, milisc "mellow, sweet," from Proto-Germanic *mil-sk- (source also of Dutch mals "soft, ripe," Old High German molawen "to become soft," German mollig "soft"), from PIE root *mel- (1) "soft."ETD mulch (n.).2

    mulch (v.)

    "to cover with mulch," 1748 (implied in mulched), from mulch (n.). Related: Mulching.ETD mulch (v.).2

    mulct (v.)

    early 15c., "to punish by a fine or forfeiture," from Latin mulctare, altered (Barnhart calls it "false archaism") from multare "punish, to sentence to pay a fine," from multa "penalty, fine," which is perhaps from Oscan or Samnite [Klein], or perhaps connected to multus "numerous, many," as "a fine is a 'quantity' one has to pay" [de Vaan]. Sense of "defraud" is first recorded 1748. Related: Mulcted; mulcting; mulctation (early 15c.).ETD mulct (v.).2

    mule (n.1)

    "hybrid offspring of donkey and horse," from Old English mul, Old French mul "mule, hinny" (12c., fem. mule), both from Latin mulus (fem. mula) "a mule," from Proto-Italic *musklo-, which is probably (along with Greek myklos "pack-mule," Albanian mushk "mule) a loan-word from a language of Asia Minor.ETD mule (n.1).2

    Properly, the offspring of a he-ass and a mare; that of a she-ass and a stallion is technically a hinny. The males are ordinarily incapable of procreation. Used allusively of hybrids and things of mixed nature. Meaning "obstinate, stupid, or stubborn person" is from 1470s; the sense of "stupid" seems to have been older, that of "stubborn" is by 18c.ETD mule (n.1).3

    As a type of spinning machine, it is attested from 1793 (as mule-jenny, 1788), so called because it is a "hybrid" of Arkwright's drawing-rollers and Hargreaves' jenny. The underworld slang sense of "narcotics smuggler or courier for a drug trafficker" is attested by 1935. The mule-deer of Western U.S. (1805) is so called for its large ears.ETD mule (n.1).4

    mule (n.2)

    "loose slipper," 1560s, from French mule "slipper," from Latin mulleus calceus "red high-soled shoe," worn by Roman patricians, from mullus "red" (see mullet (n.1)). Related: Mules.ETD mule (n.2).2

    muleteer (n.)

    "mule driver," 1530s, from French muletier, from mulet "mule," a diminutive formation replacing Old French mul as the word for "mule" in French (see mule (n.1)).ETD muleteer (n.).2

    muliebrity (n.)

    "womanhood, state of puberty in a woman," corresponding to virility in men, 1590s, from Late Latin muliebritatem (nominative muliebritas) "womanhood," from Latin muliebris "of woman, womanly," from mulier "a woman," which is traditionally said to be comparative to the stem of mollis "soft, weak;" there are phonetic objections, but no better theory has come forward.ETD muliebrity (n.).2

    Hence also mulier, in old law language "a woman; a wife," as an adjective, "born in wedlock." Also muliebral "of or pertaining to a woman" (1650s); muliebrious "effeminate" (1650s); mulierosity "excessive fondness for women." In old anatomy and medical writing pudenda muliebria was euphemistic for "vagina."ETD muliebrity (n.).3

    mulish (adj.)

    "having the characteristics imputed to the mule," especially "stubborn," 1751, from mule (n.1) + -ish. Related: Mulishly; mulishness.ETD mulish (adj.).2

    mull (v.1)

    "ponder, turn over in one's mind," 1873, perhaps from a figurative use of mull (v.) "grind to powder" (which survived into 19c. in dialect), from Middle English mullyn, mollen "grind to powder, soften by pulverizing," also "to fondle or pet" (late 14c.), from Old French moillier and directly from Medieval Latin molliare, mulliare, from Latin molere "to grind," from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind."ETD mull (v.1).2

    Of uncertain connection to the mull (v.) defined in Webster's (1879) as "to work steadily without accomplishing much," and the earlier identical word in athletics meaning "to botch, muff" (1862). Related: Mulled; mulling.ETD mull (v.1).3

    mulled (adj.)

    of drinks, "sweetened and spiced," c. 1600, past-participle adjective from mull (v.2).ETD mulled (adj.).2

    mull (n.)

    "promontory" (in Scottish place names), late 14c., perhaps from Old Norse muli "a jutting crag, projecting ridge (between two valleys)," which probably is identical with muli "snout, muzzle." The Norse word is related to Old Frisian mula, Middle Dutch mule, muul, Old High German mula, German Maul "muzzle, mouth." Alternative etymology traces it to Gaelic maol "brow of a hill or rock," also "bald," from Old Celtic *mailo-s (source also of Irish maol, Old Irish máel, máil, Welsh moel).ETD mull (n.).2

    mull (v.2)

    "sweeten, spice, and heat (a drink)," c. 1600, of unknown origin. Perhaps from Dutch mol, a kind of white, sweet beer, or from Flemish molle a kind of beer, and related to words for "to soften." Related: Mulled; mulling.ETD mull (v.2).2

    mullah (n.)

    title given in Muslim lands to one learned in theology and sacred law, 1610s, from Turkish molla, Persian and Urdu mulla, from Arabic mawla "master," from waliya "reigned, governed."ETD mullah (n.).2

    mullein (n.)

    tall weed of the figwort family, used medicinally, early 14c., molein, probably from Anglo-French moleine (Modern French molène), perhaps literally "the soft-leaved plant," from French mol "soft," from Latin mollis "soft" (from PIE root *mel- (1) "soft"). This connection was felt in Middle English, and the word soft was used as an alternate name for the plant (early 14c.)ETD mullein (n.).2

    There is an Old English word molegn or moleȝn, which Cockayne identifies as mullein. The word is glossed in a manuscript with Latin calmum and Old English windelstreow, both of which suggest something straw-like, though this does not necessarily exclude mullein with its tall stalk and little stubble-like hairs. If the identification is correct, this would upset the French etymology.ETD mullein (n.).3

    mullet (n.1)

    edible type of spiny-finned fish, late 14c., molet, from Anglo-French molett (late 14c.), Old French mulet "red mullet" and directly from Medieval Latin muletus, from Latin muletus, moletus, from mullus "red mullet," from Greek myllos, name of a Pontic fish, which perhaps is related to melos "black" (see melano-), but "As there is no further specification of the fish ... all explanations are up in the air" [Beekes]ETD mullet (n.1).2

    mullet (n.2)

    "hairstyle short the sides and long in back," 1996, perhaps from mullet-head "stupid, dull person" (1857). Mullet-head also was a name of a type of North American freshwater fish with a large, flat head (1866) with a reputation for stupidity. The term in reference to the haircut seems to have emerged into pop culture with the Beastie Boys song "Mullet Head."ETD mullet (n.2).2

    As a surname, Mullet is attested from late 13c., thought to be a diminutive of Old French mul "mule." Compare also mallet-headed, in reference to the flat tops of chisels meant to be struck with a mallet.ETD mullet (n.2).3

    Mulligan (n.)

    surname, from Gaelic Maolagan, Old Irish Maelecan, a double diminutive of mael "bald," hence "the little bald (or shaven) one," probably often a reference to a monk or disciple. As "stew made with whatever's available" (1904) it is hobo slang, probably from the proper name. The golf sense of "extra stroke after a poor shot" (1949) is sometimes said to be from the name of a Canadian golfer in the 1920s whose friends gave him an extra shot in gratitude for driving them over rough roads to their weekly foursome at St. Lambert Country Club near Montreal.ETD Mulligan (n.).2

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