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[muhs-kit] /ˈmʌs kɪt/
a heavy, large-caliber smoothbore gun for infantry soldiers, introduced in the 16th century: the predecessor of the modern rifle.
the male sparrow hawk, Accipiter nisus.
Origin of musket
1580-90; < Middle French mousquet < Italian moschetto crossbow arrow, later musket, orig. kind of hawk, equivalent to mosch(a) fly (< Latin musca) + -etto -et Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for musket
  • One skull stood out-marked with what appeared to be the entrance wound from a musket ball.
  • The word originally meant a canon shot or volley of musket fire.
  • If you had enough teeth in your head and could hold a musket, you were fine.
  • And the pizza war is every bit as brutal as those fought by bow or musket or machine gun.
  • They will provide musket firings and heavy artillery drills throughout the day.
  • Instead of having doctors discover her secret, she removed a musket ball from her own leg.
  • They can watch both sides drill in artillery and practice musket and rifle drills.
  • The musket ball, fitting loosely in the barrel, could be loaded quickly.
  • The fact that the military musket always was equipped with a bayonet made it the dependable weapon for all close fighting.
British Dictionary definitions for musket


a long-barrelled muzzle-loading shoulder gun used between the 16th and 18th centuries by infantry soldiers
Word Origin
C16: from French mousquet, from Italian moschetto arrow, earlier: sparrow hawk, from moscha a fly, from Latin musca
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for musket

"firearm for infantry" (later replaced by the rifle), 1580s, from Middle 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. Early firearms often were given names of beasts (cf. dragoon), and the equivalent word in Italian was used to mean "an arrow for a crossbow." The French word was borrowed earlier into English (early 15c.) in its literal sense of "sparrow-hawk."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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