a substance secreted in a glandular sac under the skin of the abdomen of the male musk deer, having a strong odor, and used in perfumery.
an artificial imitation of the substance.
a similar secretion of other animals, as the civet, muskrat, and otter.
the odor of musk or some similar odor.
Botany. any of several plants, as the monkey flower, having a musky fragrance.

1350–1400; Middle English musk(e) (< Middle French musc) < Late Latin muscus (Medieval Latin moschus) < Late Greek móskos, móschos < Persian mushk Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
musk (mʌsk)
1.  a strong-smelling glandular secretion of the male musk deer, used in perfumery
2.  a similar substance produced by certain other animals, such as the civet and otter, or manufactured synthetically
3.  See also monkey flower any of several scrophulariaceous plants of the genus Mimulus, esp the North American M. moschatus, which has yellow flowers and was formerly cultivated for its musky scent
4.  the smell of musk or a similar heady smell
5.  (modifier) containing or resembling musk: musk oil; a musk flavour
[C14: from Late Latin muscus, from Greek moskhos, from Persian mushk, probably from Sanskrit mushká scrotum (from the appearance of the musk deer's musk bag), diminutive of mūshmouse]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from O.Fr. musc (13c.), from L.L. muscus, from Late Gk. moskhos, from Pers. mushk, from Skt. muska-s "testicle," from mus "mouse" (so called, presumably, for resemblance; see muscle). The deer gland was thought to resemble a scrotum. Ger. has moschos, from a M.L.
form of the Late Gk. word. Sp. has almizcle, from Arabic al misk "the musk," from Persian. Applied to various plants and animals of similar smell (e.g. musk-ox, 1744).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


substance obtained from the male musk deer and having a penetrating, persistent odour. It is used in the highest grades of perfume because of its odour characteristics, ability to remain in evidence for long periods of time, and ability to act as a fixative. Its quality varies according to the season and the age of the animal from which it is obtained. In India and parts of the Far East, aphrodisiac, stimulant, and antispasmodic effects have been attributed to musk.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The freezer case was full of curious meats: a snowy hunk of a fin whale's
  throat, a slab of musk ox.
The resulting molecule is similar in shape and smell to the musk sprayed by
Scientists are seeking to understand how the musk ox has managed to persist
  through repeated climate shifts and habitat upheavals.
It is thought that they use their strong-smelling musk secretion to mark out
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