verb (used with object)
to assemble (troops, a ship's crew, etc.), as for battle, display, inspection, orders, or discharge.
to gather, summon, rouse (often followed by up ): He mustered all his courage.
verb (used without object)
to assemble for inspection, service, etc., as troops or forces.
to come together; collect; assemble; gather.
an assembling of troops or persons for formal inspection or other purposes.
an assemblage or collection.
the act of mustering.
Also called muster roll. (formerly) a list of the persons enrolled in a military or naval unit.
Verb phrases
muster in, to enlist into service in the armed forces.
muster out, to discharge from service in the armed forces: He will be mustered out of the army in only two more months.
pass muster,
to pass a cursory inspection.
to measure up to a certain standard; be adequate: Your grades don't pass muster.

1250–1300; Middle English mostren (v.) < Old French mostrer < Latin mōnstrāre to show, derivative of mōnstrum portent; see monster

premuster, verb (used with object)
unmustered, adjective

muster, mustard.

1. convoke. See gather. 1, 4. convene; congregate. 5. gathering, assembly, convention.

1, 4. scatter, separate. Unabridged


1 [muhst]
auxiliary verb
to be obliged or bound to by an imperative requirement: I must keep my word.
to be under the necessity to; need to: Animals must eat to live.
to be required or compelled to, as by the use or threat of force: You must obey the law.
to be compelled to in order to fulfill some need or achieve an aim: We must hurry if we're to arrive on time.
to be forced to, as by convention or the requirements of honesty: I must say, that is a lovely hat.
to be or feel urged to; ought to: I must buy that book.
to be reasonably expected to; is bound to: It must have stopped raining by now. She must be at least 60.
to be inevitably certain to; be compelled by nature: Everyone must die.
verb (used without object)
to be obliged; be compelled: Do I have to go? I must, I suppose.
Archaic. (sometimes used with ellipsis of go, get, or some similar verb readily understood from the context): We must away.
necessary; vital: A raincoat is must clothing in this area.
something necessary, vital, or required: This law is a must.

before 900; Middle English most(e), Old English mōste (past tense); cognate with German musste. See mote2

1. Must, ought, should express necessity or duty. Must expresses necessity or compulsion: I must attend to those patients first. Soldiers must obey orders. Ought (weaker than must ) expresses obligation, duty, desirability: You ought to tell your mother. Should expresses obligation, expectation, or probability: You are not behaving as you should. Children should be taught to speak the truth. They should arrive at one o'clock. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
must1 (mʌst, (unstressed) məst, məs)
vb (takes an infinitive without to or an implied infinitive)
1.  used as an auxiliary to express obligation or compulsion: you must pay your dues. In this sense, must does not form a negative. If used with a negative infinitive it indicates obligatory prohibition
2.  used as an auxiliary to indicate necessity: I must go to the bank tomorrow
3.  used as an auxiliary to indicate the probable correctness of a statement: he must be there by now
4.  used as an auxiliary to indicate inevitability: all good things must come to an end
5.  used as an auxiliary to express resolution
 a.  on the part of the speaker when used with I or we: I must finish this
 b.  on the part of another or others as imputed to them by the speaker, when used with you, he, she, they, etc: let him get drunk if he must
6.  ( used emphatically ) used as an auxiliary to express conviction or certainty on the part of the speaker: he must have reached the town by now, surely; you must be joking
7.  (foll by away) used with an implied verb of motion to express compelling haste: I must away
8.  an essential or necessary thing: strong shoes are a must for hill walking
[Old English mōste past tense of mōtan to be allowed, be obliged to; related to Old Saxon mōtan, Old High German muozan, German müssen]

must2 (mʌst)
the newly pressed juice of grapes or other fruit ready for fermentation
[Old English, from Latin mustum new wine, must, from mustus (adj) newborn]

must3 (mʌst)
mustiness or mould
[C17: back formation from musty]

must4 (mʌst)
a variant spelling of musth

muster (ˈmʌstə)
vb (sometimes foll by up)
1.  to call together (numbers of men) for duty, inspection, etc, or (of men) to assemble in this way
2.  (US)
 a.  muster in to enlist into military service
 b.  muster out to discharge from military service
3.  (Austral), (NZ) (tr) to round up (livestock)
4.  to summon or gather: to muster one's arguments; to muster up courage
5.  an assembly of military personnel for duty, inspection, etc
6.  a collection, assembly, or gathering
7.  (Austral), (NZ) the rounding up of livestock
8.  a flock of peacocks
9.  pass muster to be acceptable
[C14: from old French moustrer, from Latin monstrāre to show, from monstrum portent, omen]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. moste, pt. of motan "have to, be able to," from P.Gmc. *motanan "to fix, allot, appoint, to have room, to be able" (cf. O.Fris. mota, M.L.G. moten, Du. moeten, Ger. müssen "to be obliged to," Goth. gamotan "to have room to, to be able to"), from PIE base *med- "to measure." Used as present
tense from c.1300, from the custom of using past subjunctive as a moderate or polite form of the present. The noun meaning "something that has to be seen or experienced" is from 1892.

"new wine," O.E. must, from L. mustum, short for vinum mustum "fresh wine," neut. of mustus "fresh, new."

"mold," c.1600, perhaps a back-formation of musty (q.v.).

"male elephant frenzy," 1871, from Urdu mast "intoxicated, in rut," from Pers. mast, lit. "intoxicated," related to Skt. matta- "drunk, intoxicated," pp. of madati "boils, bubbles, gets drunk," from PIE base *mad- "wet, to drip."

c.1300, "to display, reveal, appear," from O.Fr. mostrer (modern Fr. montrer), from L. monstrare "to show," from monstrum "omen, sign" (see monster). Noun meaning "act of gathering troops" is c.1400. To pass musters (1570s) originally meant "to undergo military review without
censure." To muster out "gather to be discharged from military service" is 1834, Amer.Eng. To muster up in the fig. and transf. sense of "gather, summon, marshal" is from 1620s. Related: Mustered; mustering.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with muster, also see pass muster.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
This is the first research report which has passed muster with him.
But, purist that he is, he'll gladly call out changes that don't pass muster.
It hopes to pass muster with agency's safety regulators.
Beeson said she doubted any approach would pass constitutional muster.
Idioms & Phrases
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