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    Murphy — mutual (n.)


    common Irish surname, Gaelic Murchadh "sea-warrior." The Celtic "sea" element is also in names Muriel (q.v.), Murdoch (Old Irish Muireadhach, Old Welsh Mordoc "mariner"), etc. As colloquial for "a potato" by 1811, apparently in allusion ot it being a staple food of the Irish.ETD Murphy.2

    Murphy bed (1912; in full Murphy In-A-Dor Bed) is named for U.S. inventor William Lawrence Murphy (1876-1959). By happy coincidence, Murphy was an illiterate 18c.-19c. perversion of Morpheus, god of sleep. Murphy's law (1958) is used of various pessimistic aphorisms. If there ever was a real Murphy his identity is lost to history. Said to be military originally, and it probably pre-dates the earliest printed example (the 1958 citation calls it "an old military maxim").ETD Murphy.3

    murrain (n.)

    early 14c., morein, "disease or plague among people or animals or both," from Anglo-French moryn, Old French moraine "pestilence" (12c.), probably from mourir "to die," from Latin mori "to die," from PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm" (also "to die" and forming words referring to death and to beings subject to death). After c. 1600 used exclusively of domestic animals (especially cattle).ETD murrain (n.).2


    capital of Oman, from Arabic Masqat, said to mean "hidden" (it is isolated from the interior by hills).ETD Muscat.2

    muscat (n.)

    type of strong and more or less sweet wine, 1570s, from French, from Italian moscato, literally "musky-flavored," from Vulgar Latin *muscatus, from Latin muscus "musk" (see musk). Earlier muscadine (1540s) and compare muscatel.ETD muscat (n.).2

    muscatel (n.)

    "strong, sweet wine made from muscat grapes," 1530s, variant of muskadell (c. 1400), from Medieval Latin muscatellum, diminutive of muscat "(grape) with the fragrance of musk" (see muscat).ETD muscatel (n.).2

    muscle (n.)

    "contractible animal tissue consisting of bundles of fibers," late 14c., "a muscle of the body," from Latin musculus "a muscle," literally "a little mouse," diminutive of mus "mouse" (see mouse (n.)).ETD muscle (n.).2

    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 combining form gives the medical prefix myo-. Compare also Old Church Slavonic mysi "mouse," mysica "arm;" German Maus "mouse; muscle," Arabic 'adalah "muscle," 'adal "field mouse;" Cornish logodenfer "calf of the leg," literally "mouse of the leg." In Middle English, lacerte, from the Latin word for "lizard," also was used as a word for a muscle.ETD muscle (n.).3

    Hence muscular and mousy are relatives, and a Middle English word for "muscular" was lacertous, "lizardy." Figurative sense of "muscle, strength, brawn" is by 1850; that of "force, violence, threat of violence" is 1930, American English. Muscle car "hot rod" is from 1969.ETD muscle (n.).4

    muscle (v.)

    1913, "to accomplish by strength," from muscle (n.). Meaning "coerce by violence or pressure" is by 1929 in U.S. underworld slang. Related: Muscled; muscling.ETD muscle (v.).2

    muscled (adj.)

    "having muscles (of a particular type)," 1640s, from muscle (n.).ETD muscled (adj.).2

    muscle-bound (adj.)

    1879, from muscle (n.) + bound, past participle of bind (v.).ETD muscle-bound (adj.).2

    muscle-man (n.)

    1929, originally "an underworld enforcer;" sense of "strong man" is attested by 1952; from muscle (n.) + man (n.).ETD muscle-man (n.).2

    muscly (adj.)

    "exhibiting great muscular development," 1590s, from muscle (n.) + -y (2).ETD muscly (adj.).2


    former principality in central Russia that formed the nucleus of the modern Russian nation; from French Moscovie, from Modern Latin Moscovia, old name of Russia, from Russian Moskova "(Principality of) Moscow." In Muscovy duck (1650s), the tropical American bird, and certain other uses it is a corruption of musk. Related: Muscovite; Muscovian.ETD Muscovy.2

    muscularity (n.)

    "state or quality of having well-developed muscles," 1680s, from Modern Latin muscularis (from Latin musculus; see muscle (n.)) + -ity.ETD muscularity (n.).2

    muscular (adj.)

    1680s, "pertaining to muscles," from Latin musculus (see muscle (n.)) + -ar. Earlier in same sense was musculous (early 15c., from Latin musculosus). Meaning "brawny, strong, having well-developed muscles" is from 1736. Muscular Christianity (1857) is originally in reference to philosophy of Anglican clergyman and novelist Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), who rejected the term. Muscular dystrophy is attested from 1877.ETD muscular (adj.).2

    musculature (n.)

    "system of muscles considered with reference to its origin and development," 1875, from French musculature, from Latin musculus (see muscle (n.)).ETD musculature (n.).2


    word-forming element meaning "involving or pertaining to muscles," from combining form of Latin musculus "muscle" (see muscle (n.)).ETD musculo-.2

    musculoskeletal (adj.)

    also musculo-skeletal, 1943, from musculo- + skeletal.ETD musculoskeletal (adj.).2

    muse (v.)

    "to reflect, ponder, meditate; to be absorbed in thought," mid-14c., from Old French muser (12c.) "to ponder, dream, wonder; loiter, waste time," which is of uncertain origin; the explanation in Diez and Skeat is literally "to stand with one's nose in the air" (or, possibly, "to sniff about" like a dog who has lost the scent), from muse "muzzle," from Gallo-Roman *musa "snout," itself a word of unknown origin. The modern word probably has been influenced in sense by muse (n.). Related: Mused; musing.ETD muse (v.).2

    Muse (n.)

    late 14c., "one of the nine Muses of classical mythology," daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, protectors of the arts; from Old French Muse and directly from Latin Musa, from Greek Mousa, "the Muse," also "music, song," ultimately from PIE root *men- (1) "to think." Meaning "inspiring goddess of a particular poet" (with a lower-case m-) is from late 14c.ETD Muse (n.).2

    The traditional names and specialties of the nine Muses are: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (love poetry, lyric art), Euterpe (music, especially flute), Melpomene (tragedy), Polymnia (hymns), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), Urania (astronomy).ETD Muse (n.).3

    musing (n.)

    late 14c., "act of pondering, meditation, thought," verbal noun from muse (v.). Related: Musingly; musings.ETD musing (n.).2

    musette (n.)

    late 14c., "small bagpipe," from Old French musette "bagpipe" (13c.), from muser "to play the bagpipe, make music," from mus "mouth, muzzle," from Medieval Latin musum (see muzzle (n.)). By 1788 as "a composition for or as though for a musette," a quiet pastoral melody, usually in imitation of a bagpipe, from this sense in French.ETD musette (n.).2

    museum (n.)

    1610s, "the university building in Alexandria," from Latin museum "library, study," from Greek mouseion "place of study, library or museum, school of art or poetry," originally "a temple or shrine of the Muses," from Mousa "Muse" (see muse (n.)). The earliest use in reference to English institutions was of libraries for scholarly study (1640s); the sense of "building or part of a building set aside as a repository and display place for objects relating to art, literature, or science" is recorded by 1680s.ETD museum (n.).2

    mush (v.)

    "to pound to a pulp," 1781, from mush (n.). Related: Mushed; mushing.ETD mush (v.).2

    mush (n.)

    "kind of porridge; meal boiled in water or milk until it forms a thick, soft mass," 1670s, in the American colonies, a variant of mash (n.) "soft mixture." Meaning "anything soft and thick" is attested from 1824.ETD mush (n.).2

    mush (interj.)

    command to sled dogs, 1897, attested by 1862, as mouche, perhaps altered from French marchons! "advance!" (imperative of marcher "to march;" see march (v.)). Related: Musher.ETD mush (interj.).2

    mushy (adj.)

    1839, "soft, pulpy, like mush, without firmness," from mush (n.) + -y (2). Figurative sense of "sentimental" is by 1870; mush (n.) in a transferred sense of "sentimentality" is attested from 1908. Related: Mushiness.ETD mushy (adj.).2

    mushiness (n.)

    1890, from mushy + -ness. Figurative sense of "sentimentality" attested from 1946.ETD mushiness (n.).2

    mushroom (n.)

    a word applied at first to almost any of the larger fungi but later to the agaricoid fungi and especially the edible varieties, mid-15c., muscheron, musseroun (attested 1327 as a surname, John Mussheron), from Anglo-French musherun, Old French meisseron (11c., Modern French mousseron), perhaps from Late Latin mussirionem (nominative mussirio), though this might as well be borrowed from French.ETD mushroom (n.).2

    Barnhart says "of uncertain origin." Klein calls it "a word of pre-Latin origin, used in the North of France;" OED says it usually is held to be a derivative of French mousse "moss" (from Germanic), and Weekley agrees, saying it is properly "applied to variety which grows in moss," but Klein says they have "nothing in common." For the final -m Weekley refers to grogram, vellum, venom. Modern spelling is from 1560s.ETD mushroom (n.).3

    Used figuratively for something or someone that makes a sudden appearance in full form from 1590s, especially an upstart person or family, one who rises rapidly from a low station in life. In reference to the shape of clouds that rise upward and outward after explosions, etc., it is attested from 1916, though the actual phrase mushroom cloud does not appear until 1955.ETD mushroom (n.).4

    mushroom (v.)

    "expand or increase rapidly; rise suddenly in position or rank," 1741, from mushroom (n.). Related: Mushroomed; mushrooming.ETD mushroom (v.).2

    musicality (n.)

    "character of being musical," 1812, from musical (adj.) + -ity.ETD musicality (n.).2

    musical (n.)

    "film or theatrical piece (other than opera) in which music figures prominently," 1937, from musical (adj.) in musical play. Earlier as a noun it meant "musical instrument" (c. 1500), "musical performance" (1570s); "musical party" (1823, a sense now in musicale).ETD musical (n.).2

    music (n.)

    mid-13c., musike, "a pleasing succession of sounds or combinations of sounds; the science of combining sounds in rhythmic, melodic, and (later) harmonic order," from Old French musique (12c.) and directly from Latin musica "the art of music," also including poetry (also source of Spanish musica, Italian musica, Old High German mosica, German Musik, Dutch muziek, Danish musik), from Greek mousikē (technē) "(art) of the Muses," from fem. of mousikos "pertaining to the Muses; musical; educated," from Mousa "Muse" (see muse (n.)).ETD music (n.).2

    The modern spelling is from 1630s. In classical Greece, any art in which the Muses presided, but especially music and lyric poetry.ETD music (n.).3

    The use of letters to denote music pitch probably is at least as old as ancient Greece, as their numbering system was ill-suited to the job. Natural scales begin at C (not A) because in ancient times the minor mode was more often used than the major one, and the natural minor scale begins at A.ETD music (n.).4

    Meaning "the written or printed score of a composition" is from 1650s.ETD music (n.).5

    Music box is from 1773, originally "barrel organ," by 1845 in reference to the wind-up mechanical device; music hall is by 1842 as "interior space used for musical performances," especially "public hall licensed for musical entertainment" (1857). To face the music "accept the consequences" is from 1850; the exact image is uncertain, one theory ties it to stage performers, another to cavalry horses having to be taught to stay calm while the regimental band plays. To make (beautiful) music with someone "have sexual intercourse" is from 1967.ETD music (n.).6

    musical (adj.)

    early 15c., "pertaining to music;" mid-15c., "tuneful, harmonious;" late 15c., "adept at making music," from Medieval Latin musicalis, from Latin musica (see music). Related: Musically. Musical box is from 1829. Children's or parlor game musical chairs is attested from 1862, hence use of musical as a modifier meaning "changing rapidly from one to another possessor" (1924).ETD musical (adj.).2

    In mid-19c. makers of musical boxes also advertised musical chairs, "playing beautiful tunes simply by the weight of the person sitting in them."ETD musical (adj.).3

    musicale (n.)

    "musical party, private concert or performance," 1872, from French musicale, short for soirée musicale "musical evening (party);" see musical (adj.).ETD musicale (n.).2

    musicaster (n.)

    "mediocre musician," 1838, from music + -aster.ETD musicaster (n.).2

    musician (n.)

    late 14c., musicien, "one skilled in music," from Old French musicien (14c.), or a native formation from music + -ian. Sense of "professional musical performer" is attested from mid-15c.ETD musician (n.).2

    musicianship (n.)

    "skill in musical composition or expression," 1828, from musician + -ship.ETD musicianship (n.).2


    word-forming element meaning "music, musical, music and," from combining form of Latin musicus (see music).ETD musico-.2

    musicology (n.)

    "the study of the science of music," 1900; see music + -ology. Related: Musicological; musicologist.ETD musicology (n.).2

    musk (n.)

    odoriferous reddish-brown substance secreted by the male musk deer (dried and used in medicinal preparations and as a perfume), late 14c., from Old French musc (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin muscus, from Late Greek moskhos, from Persian mushk, from Sanskrit muska-s "testicle," from mus "mouse" (so called, presumably, for resemblance; see muscle). The deer gland was thought to resemble a scrotum. German has Moschus, from a Medieval Latin form of the Late Greek word. Spanish has almizcle, from Arabic al misk "the musk," from Persian.ETD musk (n.).2

    The musk-deer, the small ruminant of central Asia that produces the substance, is so called from 1680s. The name musk was applied to various plants and animals of similar smell, such as the Arctic musk-ox (1744). Musk-melon "the common melon" (1570s) probably originally was an oriental melon with a musky smell, the name transferred by error [OED]. Also compare Muscovy.ETD musk (n.).3

    muskeg (n.)

    kind of North American bog, 1865, from Cree (Algonquian) /maske:k/ "swamp;" compare Abenaki mskag, Munsee Delaware maskeekw, and Ojibwa mshkiig, which probably is an element in the place names Muskego (Wisconsin) and Muskegon (Michigan).ETD muskeg (n.).2

    muskellunge (n.)

    "large North American pike," 1789, from Algonquian (Ojibwa) maashkinoozhe; the second element is kinoozhe "pike;" the first is either mac "great," maazh- "similar to," or maazh- "ugly." Altered by French folk etymology as masque allongé "long mask." Called muskie for short (1889).ETD muskellunge (n.).2

    musket (n.)

    "firearm for infantry" (later replaced by the rifle), 1580s, from French mousquette, also the name of a kind of sparrow-hawk, diminutive of mosca "a fly," from Latin musca (see midge). The hawk so called either for its size or because it looks speckled when in flight.ETD musket (n.).2

    Early firearms often were given names of beasts (compare dragoon, also falcon, a kind of cannon mentioned by Hakluyt), and the equivalent word in Italian was used to mean "an arrow for a crossbow." Wedgwood also compares culverin, a simple early sort of firearm, from French couleuvrine, from couleuvre "grass snake."ETD musket (n.).3

    French mousquette had been borrowed earlier into Middle English (late 14c.; c. 1200 as a surname) in its literal sense of "sparrow-hawk."ETD musket (n.).4

    musketeer (n.)

    "soldier armed with a musket," 1580s, from musket + -eer, or else from French mousquetaire, from mousquette (see musket).ETD musketeer (n.).2

    musketry (n.)

    1640s, "muskets collectively," from French mousqueterie, from mousquet "musket" (see musket), on analogy of Italian moschetteria.ETD musketry (n.).2

    musky (adj.)

    "having the characteristic odor of musk," c. 1600, from musk + -y (2). Related: Muskiness.ETD musky (adj.).2

    musky (n.)

    American English, short for muskrat (1884) or muskellunge (1889). Also muskie.ETD musky (n.).2


    Native American language family of the southeastern U.S., 1890, from Muskogee, name of the Creek and related tribes (1775), from Creek maskoki.ETD Muskogean.2

    muskrat (n.)

    also musk-rat, "large aquatic rodent of North America," 1610s, alteration (by association with musk and rat) of an Algonquian word (probably Powhatan), muscascus, literally "it is red," so called for its coloring. From cognate Abenaki moskwas comes variant form musquash (1620s). Dialectal mushrat is by 1890.ETD muskrat (n.).2

    Muslim (n.)

    "one who professes Islam," 1610s, from Arabic muslim "one who submits" (to the faith), from root of aslama "he resigned." Related to Islam. From 1777 as an adjective.ETD Muslim (n.).2

    muslin (n.)

    c. 1600, "delicately woven cotton fabric," from French mousseline (17c.), from Italian mussolina, from Mussolo, Italian name of Mosul, city in northern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) where muslin was made. Like many fabric names, it has changed meaning over the years, in this case from luxurious to commonplace. In 13c. French, mosulin meant "cloth of silk and gold." The meaning "everyday cotton fabric for shirts, bedding, etc." is first attested 1872 in American English.ETD muslin (n.).2

    muss (v.)

    "to make untidy, put in a state of disorder," 1837, American English, probably a variant of mess in its sense of "to disorder." It was attested earlier (1830) as a noun meaning "disturbance, state of confusion." Related: Mussed; mussing.ETD muss (v.).2

    mussel (n.)

    "edible bivalve mollusk," Middle English muscle, from Old English muscle, musscel, from Late Latin muscula (source of Old French musle, Modern French moule, Middle Dutch mosscele, Dutch mossel, Old High German muscula, German Muschel), from Latin musculus "mussel," literally "little mouse," also "muscle;" like muscle, derived from mus "mouse" on the perceived similarity of size and shape (see mouse (n.)). The modern spelling, distinguishing the word from muscle, is recorded from c. 1600 but was not fully established until 1870s.ETD mussel (n.).2

    mussy (adj.)

    "rumpled, disordered, untidy," 1859, from muss + -y (2). Related: Mussiness.ETD mussy (adj.).2

    Mussulman (n.)

    also Musselman, archaic word for "a Muslim," 1560s, from Turkish musulman, from Persian musulman (adj.), from Arabic muslim (see Muslim) + adjective suffix -an.ETD Mussulman (n.).2

    must (n.2)

    "mold, moldiness," c. 1600, perhaps a back-formation of musty (q.v.).ETD must (n.2).2

    must (n.1)

    "new wine," Old English must, from Latin mustum (also source of Old High German, German most, Old French moust, Modern French moût, Spanish, Italian mosto), short for vinum mustum "fresh wine," neuter of mustus "fresh, new, newborn," perhaps literally "wet," and from PIE *mus-to-, from root *meus- "damp" (see moss).ETD must (n.1).2

    must (n.4)

    "that which has to be done, seen, or experienced," 1892, from must (v.). As an adjective, "obligatory, indispensable," by 1912, from the noun; must-read (n.) is from 1959.ETD must (n.4).2

    must (v.)

    auxiliary of prediction, "be obliged, be necessarily impelled," from Old English moste, past tense of motan "have to, be able to," from Proto-Germanic *motanan (source also of Old Saxon motan "to be obliged to, have to," Old Frisian mota, Middle Low German moten, Dutch moeten, German müssen "to be obliged to," Gothic gamotan "to have room to, to be able to"), perhaps from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures," but this old suggestion lately has been doubted. Used as present tense from c. 1300, eventually displacing motan, from the custom of using past subjunctive as a moderate or polite form of the present.ETD must (v.).2

    must (n.3)

    "male elephant frenzy," 1878, from earlier adjective (1855), from Urdu mast "intoxicated, in rut," from Persian mast, literally "intoxicated," related to Sanskrit matta- "drunk, intoxicated," past participle of madati "boils, bubbles, gets drunk," from PIE root *mad- "wet, moist" (see mast (n.2)).ETD must (n.3).2

    mustache (n.)

    also moustache (chiefly British), "the hair that grows upon the upper lip of men," 1580s, from French moustache (15c.), from Italian mostaccio, from Medieval Greek moustakion, diminutive of Doric mystax (genitive mystakos) "upper lip, mustache," related to mastax "jaws, mouth," literally "that with which one chews" (perhaps from PIE root *mendh- "to chew;" see mandible), but Beekes says this whole group of Greek words may be of Pre-Greek origin.ETD mustache (n.).2

    Borrowed earlier (1550s) as mostacchi, from the Italian word or its Spanish derivative mostacho. The plural form of this, mustachios, lingers in English (the mustache sometimes was considered as the hair on either side of the lip, hence the use of the plural form). Slang shortening stache attested from 1985. Old English had cenep "mustache," which is related to cnafa "boy" (see knave). Mustache-cup, one with a fixed cover over part of its top, allowing one to drink without dipping the mustache, is by 1868.ETD mustache (n.).3

    mustachioed (adj.)

    "wearing a mustache," 1817, from mustachio (1550s), from Spanish mostacho and directly from Italian mostaccio (see mustache). The noun was superseded by mustache, but the adjective has endured.ETD mustachioed (adj.).2

    mustang (n.)

    "small, half-wild horse of the American prairie and pampas," 1808, from Mexican Spanish mestengo "animal that strays" (16c.), from Spanish mestengo "wild, stray, ownerless," literally "belonging to the mesta," an association of cattle ranchers who divided stray or unclaimed animals that got "mixed" with the herds, from Latin mixta "mixed," fem. past participle of miscere "to mix" (from PIE root *meik- "to mix").ETD mustang (n.).2

    Said to be influenced by the Spanish word mostrenco "straying, wild," which is probably from mostrar, from Latin monstrare "to show." Though now feral, the animals are descended from tame horses brought to the Americas by the Spaniards. The brand of automobile was introduced by Ford in 1962.ETD mustang (n.).3

    mustard (n.)

    late 13c. (late 12c. as a surname), "seed of the mustard plant crushed and used as a condiment paste or for medicinal purposes," from Old French mostarde "mustard; mustard plant" (Modern French moutarde), from moust "must," from Latin mustum "new wine" (see must (n.1)); so called because it was originally prepared by adding must to the ground seeds of the plant to make a paste. As the name of the plant itself, by mid-14c. in English. As a color name, it is attested from 1848.ETD mustard (n.).2

    Mustard-pot is attested from early 15c. Mustard gas, World War I poison (first used by the Germans at Ypres, 1917), so called for its color and smell and burning effect on eyes and lungs; chemical name is dichlordiethyl sulfide; it contains no mustard and is an atomized liquid, not a gas. To cut the mustard (1907, usually in negative) is probably from slang mustard "genuine article, best thing" (1903) on notion of "that which enhances flavor."ETD mustard (n.).3

    mustee (n.)

    also mestee, "octoroon, offspring of a white and a quadroon," also, generally, "a half-caste," 1690s, a West Indian word, a corruption of Spanish mestizo (q.v.).ETD mustee (n.).2

    mustelid (n.)

    "animal of the family of mammals that includes the weasels, badgers, skunks, and otters," 1910, from Modern Latin Mustelidae, taken as a genus name by Linnaeus (1758), from Latin mustela "weasel," which is possibly a diminutive form from mus "mouse" (see mouse (n.)), a theory accepted by de Vaan, who writes, "The use of the dim. for the weasel can be due to its small size compared with other similar animals (marten, polecat) or because it was domesticated and used as a pet animal." Tucker tentatively suggests *mus-ters-la "mouse harrier," and Klein notes that the weasel was identified in antiquity as "the catcher of mice."ETD mustelid (n.).2

    musteline (adj.)

    "weasel-like; pertaining to weasels," 1650s, from Latin mustelinus "of or belonging to weasels," from mustela; see mustelid + -ine (1).ETD musteline (adj.).2

    muster (v.)

    early 14c., moustren, "to display, reveal, to show or demonstrate" (senses now obsolete), also "to appear, be present," from Old French mostrer "appear, show, reveal," also in a military sense (10c., Modern French montrer), from Latin monstrare "to show," from monstrum "omen, sign" (see monster).ETD muster (v.).2

    The transitive meaning "to collect, assemble, bring together in a group or body," especially for military service or inspection, is from early 15c. The intransitive sense of "assemble, meet in one place," of military forces, is from mid-15c. The figurative use "summon, gather up" (of qualities, etc.) is from 1580s.ETD muster (v.).3

    To muster in (transitive) "receive as recruits" is by 1837; to muster out "gather to be discharged from military service" is by 1834, American English. To muster up in the figurative and transferred sense of "gather, summon, marshal" is from 1620s. Related: Mustered; mustering.ETD muster (v.).4

    muster (n.)

    late 14c., moustre, "action of showing, demonstration, manifestation, exhibition" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French mostre "illustration, proof; examination, inspection" (13c., Modern French montre), literally "that which is shown," from mostrer "appear, show, reveal" (see muster (v.)). Meaning "an assembly or act of gathering troops" is from c. 1400. Meaning "a register or roll of troops mustered" is from 1560s. To pass muster "undergo review without censure" is by 1620s; in the form pass the musters it is attested from 1570s.ETD muster (n.).2

    musty (adj.)

    1520s, "moldy, sour," perhaps a variant of moisty "moist, damp" (see moist), but musty, of bread, "containing must" is attested mid-15c., and from 15c.-19c. must also was a variant of musk. Related: Mustiness.ETD musty (adj.).2


    by mid-18c., contraction of must not; see must (v.).ETD mustn't.2

    mutable (adj.)

    late 14c., "liable to change," from Latin mutabilis "changeable," from mutare "to change," from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move," with derivatives referring to the exchange of goods and services as regulated by custom or law (compare Latin mutuus "done in exchange").ETD mutable (adj.).2

    mutability (n.)

    late 14c., "tendency to change, inconstancy," from Old French mutabilité, from Latin mutabilitas, from mutabilis "changeable" (see mutable).ETD mutability (n.).2

    mutagen (n.)

    "agent that causes mutation," 1946, from mutation + -gen "thing that produces." Related: Mutagenic; mutagenesis; mutagenize.ETD mutagen (n.).2

    mutant (n.)

    1900 in the biological sense, "individual or form which has arisen by or undergone (genetic) mutation," from Latin mutantem (nominative mutans) "changing," present participle of mutare "to change" (from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move"). In the science fiction sense, it is attested by 1954. As an adjective from 1903.ETD mutant (n.).2

    mutate (v.)

    1818, "to change state or condition, undergo change," back-formation from mutation. In the genetic sense, "undergo mutation," 1913, from Latin mutatus, past participle of mutare "to change" (from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move"). Related: Mutated; mutating.ETD mutate (v.).2

    mutation (n.)

    late 14c., mutacioun, "action or process of changing," from Old French mutacion (13c.), and directly from Latin mutationem (nominative mutatio) "a changing, alteration, a turn for the worse," noun of action from past-participle stem of mutare "to change" (from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move"). The genetics sense "process whereby heritable changes in DNA arise" is from 1894. The linguist's i-mutation is attested from 1874; earlier was i-umlaut (1869), from German, for which mutation was Sweet's English substitute.ETD mutation (n.).2

    mutatis mutandis

    "with the necessary changes," Latin, literally "things being changed that have to be changed," from the ablative plurals of, respectively, the past participle and gerundive of mutare "to change" (from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move").ETD mutatis mutandis.2

    muted (adj.)

    by 1840, in reference to musical instruments, past-participle adjective from mute (v.). Figuratively by 1879. Of colors by 1905. Related: mutedness.ETD muted (adj.).2

    mute (n.)

    late 14c. (late 12c. as a surname), "person who does not speak" (from inability, unwillingness, etc.), from mute (adj.). From 1570s as "stage actor in a dumb show." The musical sense "device to deaden the resonance or tone of an instrument" is by 1811 of stringed instruments, 1841 of horns.ETD mute (n.).2

    mutely (adv.)

    "silently, without words or sounds," 1620s, from mute (adj.) + -ly (2).ETD mutely (adv.).2

    mute (adj.)

    late 14c., mewet "silent, not speaking," from Old French muet "dumb, mute" (12c.), diminutive of mut, mo, from Latin mutus "silent, speechless, dumb," probably from imitative base *meue- (source also of Sanskrit mukah "dumb," Greek myein "to be shut," of the mouth). Form assimilated in 16c. to Latin mutus. The meaning "incapable of utterance, dumb" is by mid-15c.ETD mute (adj.).2

    mute (v.)

    in music, "deaden the sound of," 1861, from mute (n.). Related: Muted; muting.ETD mute (v.).2

    muteness (n.)

    "dumbness, forbearance from speaking or inability to speak," 1580s, from mute (adj.) + -ness.ETD muteness (n.).2

    mutilation (n.)

    1520s, in Scots law, "act of disabling or wounding a limb," from French mutilation and directly from Late Latin mutilationem (nominative mutilatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin mutilare "to cut or lop off," from mutilus "maimed," which is of uncertain etymology. Of things, "a destroying of unity by damaging or removing a part," from 1630s.ETD mutilation (n.).2

    mutilate (v.)

    1530s, of things (writing or books) "disfigure, maim by depriving of a characteristic part;" 1560s, of persons, "cut off a limb or any important part of;" from Latin mutilatus, past participle of mutilare "to cut off, lop off, cut short; maim, mutilate," from mutilus "maimed," which is of uncertain etymology. Properly, to deprive of some principal part, especially by cutting off, and emphasizing the injury to completeness and beauty. Related: Mutilated; mutilating.ETD mutilate (v.).2

    mutinous (adj.)

    "engaged in or disposed to mutiny," 1570s, from mutine (see mutiny (n.) ) + -ous. Related: Mutinously; mutinousness.ETD mutinous (adj.).2

    mutineer (n.)

    "one guilty of mutiny, person in military or naval service who openly resists authority of his officers," c. 1600, from French mutinier (16c.), from meutin "rebellious" (see mutiny (n.)). The earlier noun was mutine (1580s). As a verb from 1680s.ETD mutineer (n.).2

    mutiny (n.)

    "forcible resistance of or revolt against constituted authority on the part of subordinates," especially "a revolt of soldiers or seamen against their commanding officers," 1560s, with noun suffix -y (4) + obsolete verb mutine "revolt" (1540s), from French mutiner "to revolt," from meutin "rebellious," from meute "a revolt, movement," from Vulgar Latin *movita "a military uprising," from fem. past participle of Latin movere "to move" (from PIE root *meue- "to push away"). The Mutiny on the Bounty took place in 1789.ETD mutiny (n.).2

    mutiny (v.)

    "to revolt against lawful authority, with or without armed resistance, especially in the army or navy," 1580s, from mutiny (n.). Alternative mutine is recorded from 1550s. Related: Mutinied; mutinying.ETD mutiny (v.).2

    mutism (n.)

    "state of being mute," 1824, from French mutisme (1741), from Latin mutus (see mute (adj.)).ETD mutism (n.).2

    mutt (n.)

    1901, "stupid or foolish person," probably a shortening of muttonhead (1803) in the same sense; see mutton and compare meathead, etc. Mutt was used by 1898 of a dog, especially a stupid one, and perhaps this is the same word formed independently (muttonhead also was used of stupid animals), or else a separate word of unknown derivation. Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" (1900) has "Mutton! used in scolding a dog, prob. in allusion to the offence of sheep-worrying."ETD mutt (n.).2

    Used by 1910 in dog fancier publications to refer to a non-purebred animal.ETD mutt (n.).3

    Mutt and Jeff is by 1917 in reference to "a pair of stupid men, affable losers," or to one tall (Mutt) and one short (Jeff), from the comic strip characters from the heyday of the newspaper funny pages, Augustus Mutt and Jim Jeffries, in U.S. cartoonist Henry Conway ("Bud") Fisher's strip, which debuted in 1907.ETD mutt (n.).4

    mutter (v.)

    early 14c., moteren "to mumble, utter words in a low tone with compressed lips," from a common PIE imitative *mut- "to grunt, mutter" (source also of Old Norse muðla "to murmur," Latin muttire "to mutter," Old High German mutilon "to murmur, mutter; to drizzle"), with frequentative suffix -er. Related: Muttered; muttering.ETD mutter (v.).2

    mutter (n.)

    "a murmur or murmuring," 1630s, from mutter (v.).ETD mutter (n.).2

    mutton (n.)

    "flesh of sheep used as food," c. 1300, mouton (c. 1200 as a surname), from Old French moton "mutton; ram, wether, sheep" (12c., Modern French mouton), from Medieval Latin multonem (8c.), probably [OED] from Gallo-Roman *multo-s, accusative of Celtic *multo "sheep" (source also of Old Irish molt "wether," Mid-Breton mout, Welsh mollt), which is perhaps from PIE root *mel- (1) "soft."ETD mutton (n.).2

    The same word also was borrowed into Italian as montone "a sheep," and mutton in Middle English also could mean "a sheep" (early 14c.). Transferred slang sense of "food for lust, loose women, prostitutes" (1510s) led to extensive British slang uses down to the present day for woman variously regarded as seeking lovers or as lust objects. Mutton chop "cut of mutton (usually containing a rib) for cooking" is from 1720; as a style of side whiskers from 1865, so called for the shape (narrow and prolonged at one end and rounded at the other). Shoulder of mutton as a common food figures largely in the 17c.-19c. English imagination and is the source of a number of images and proverbs; sails and land-parcels were named for the shape of it.ETD mutton (n.).3

    muttonhead (n.)

    "dull or stupid person," 1803, American English, from mutton + head (n.).ETD muttonhead (n.).2

    mutual (adj.)

    late 15c., "reciprocally given and received," originally of feelings, from Old French mutuel (14c.), from Latin mutuus "reciprocal, done in exchange," from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move," "with derivatives referring to the exchange of goods and services within a society as regulated by custom or law" [Watkins].ETD mutual (adj.).2

    The meaning "common" is from 1630s. "Used in this sense loosely and improperly (but not infrequently, and by many writers of high rank), especially in the phrase a mutual friend" [Century Dictionary].ETD mutual (adj.).3

    Mutual Admiration Society (1851) seems to have been coined by Thoreau. Mutual fund is recorded from 1950.ETD mutual (adj.).4

    The Cold War's mutual assured destruction is attested from 1966. Assured destruction was a 1962 term in U.S. military policy circles in reference to nuclear weapons as a deterrent, popularized c. 1964 by Robert McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defense under Lyndon Johnson, e.g. statement before House Armed Services Committee, Feb. 18, 1965. The notion was "the minimum threat necessary to assure deterrence: the capability to exterminate not less than one third of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' (USSR) population in a retaliatory nuclear attack." [Martin Folly, "Historical Dictionary of U.S. Diplomacy During the Cold War"].ETD mutual (adj.).5

    By 1964, as the Soviet Union caught up to NATO in ICBMs, the mutual was added, perhaps first by Donald Brennan, conservative defense analyst and a public critic of the policy, who also noted the acronym MAD.)ETD mutual (adj.).6

    mutualism (n.)

    1845, in reference to the doctrine of French anarchist/socialist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865) that individual and collective well-being is attainable only by mutual dependence, from French mutuellisme. In biology, "a symbiosis in which two organisms living together mutually and permanently help and support one another," from 1876, from mutual + -ism.ETD mutualism (n.).2

    mutuality (n.)

    "reciprocity, interchange," 1580s, from mutual + -ity.ETD mutuality (n.).2

    mutually (adv.)

    "reciprocally, in a manner of giving and receiving," 1530s, from mutual + -ly (2). The meaning "conjointly, in common" (1590s) is "Held to be an erroneous use" [Century Dictionary]. Mutually exclusive is recorded by 1650s. For mutually assured destruction, see mutual.ETD mutually (adv.).2

    mutual (n.)

    short for mutual fund, 1971; see mutual.ETD mutual (n.).2

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