muscle

[muhs-uhl]
noun
1.
a tissue composed of cells or fibers, the contraction of which produces movement in the body.
2.
an organ, composed of muscle tissue, that contracts to produce a particular movement.
3.
muscular strength; brawn: It will take a great deal of muscle to move this box.
4.
power or force, especially of a coercive nature: They put muscle into their policy and sent the marines.
5.
lean meat.
6.
Slang.
a.
a hired thug or thugs.
b.
a bodyguard or bodyguards: a gangster protected by muscle.
7.
a necessary or fundamental thing, quality, etc.: The editor cut the muscle from the article.
verb (used with object), muscled, muscling.
8.
Informal. to force or compel others to make way for: He muscled his way into the conversation.
9.
to make more muscular: The dancing lessons muscled her legs.
10.
to strengthen or toughen; put muscle into.
11.
Informal. to accomplish by muscular force: to muscle the partition into place.
12.
Informal. to force or compel, as by threats, promises, influence, or the like: to muscle a bill through Congress.
verb (used without object), muscled, muscling.
13.
Informal. to make one's way by force or fraud (often followed by in or into ).
adjective
14.
Informal. (of a machine, engine, or vehicle) being very powerful or capable of high-speed performance: a muscle power saw.

Origin:
1525–35; < Latin mūsculus literally, little mouse (from fancied resemblance to some muscles), equivalent to mūs mouse + -culus -cle1

muscleless, adjective
muscly, adjective
overmuscled, adjective
transmuscle, noun
unmuscled, adjective


3. power, vigor, might, force.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
muscle (ˈmʌsəl)
 
n
1.  a tissue composed of bundles of elongated cells capable of contraction and relaxation to produce movement in an organ or part
2.  an organ composed of muscle tissue
3.  strength or force
 
vb
4.  informal (intr; often foll by in, on, etc) to force one's way (in)
 
[C16: from medical Latin musculus little mouse, from the imagined resemblance of some muscles to mice, from Latin mūs mouse]
 
'muscly
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

muscle
1530s, from L. musculus "a muscle," lit. "little mouse," dim. of mus "mouse" (see mouse). 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 my-/myo-. Cf. also O.C.S. mysi "mouse," mysica "arm;" Ger. Maus "mouse, muscle," Arabic 'adalah "muscle," 'adal "field mouse." Figurative sense of "force, violence, threat of violence" is 1930, Amer.Eng. The verb first recorded 1913, "to accomplish by strength;" to muscle in is 1929 in underworld slang. Muscle-man was originally (1929) "an underworld enforcer;" sense of "strong man" first attested 1952. Muscle-bound is first recorded 1879. Muscle car "hot rod" is from 1969.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

muscle mus·cle (mŭs'əl)
n.

  1. A tissue consisting predominantly of contractile cells and classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth, the last lacking transverse striations characteristic of the first two.

  2. Any of the contractile organs of the body by which movements of the various organs and parts are effected, and whose fibers are usually attached at each extremity to a bone or other structure by a tendon.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
muscle   (mŭs'əl)  Pronunciation Key 
A body tissue composed of sheets or bundles of cells that contract to produce movement or increase tension. Muscle cells contain filaments made of the proteins actin and myosin, which lie parallel to each other. When a muscle is signaled to contract, the actin and myosin filaments slide past each other in an overlapping pattern. ◇ Skeletal muscle effects voluntary movement and is made up of bundles of elongated cells (muscle fibers), each of which contains many nuclei. ◇ Smooth muscle provides the contractile force for the internal organs and is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. smooth muscle cells are spindle-shaped and each contains a single nucleus. ◇ Cardiac muscle makes up the muscle of the heart and consists of a meshwork of striated cells.

muscular adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

muscle

In addition to the idiom beginning with muscle, also see flex one's muscles; move a muscle.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
People who clenched a muscle were able to increase their will power in a series of tests.
Also, energy and muscle weakness are par for the course.
But only the biggest power firms have the financial muscle required to do this.
Despite a view that soft power can be as potent as military muscle, he says,
  this has not translated into policy.
Image for muscle
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