• The Muscles
    The Muscles
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v muscle make one's way by force "He muscled his way into the office"
    • n muscle possessing muscular strength
    • n muscle authority or power or force (especially when used in a coercive way) "the senators used their muscle to get the party leader to resign"
    • n muscle animal tissue consisting predominantly of contractile cells
    • n muscle one of the contractile organs of the body
    • n muscle a bully employed as a thug or bodyguard "the drug lord had his muscleman to protect him"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Biceps muscle of the arm Biceps muscle of the arm
Appliance for strengthening the muscles Appliance for strengthening the muscles

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: An elephant's trunk contains more than 50,000 muscles.
    • Muscle An essential part of something; as, budget cuts have gone beyond the fat and are cutting into the muscle of the government.
    • Muscle (Anat) An organ which, by its contraction, produces motion.
    • Muscle Bodyguards or other persons hired to provide protection or commit violence; as, he doesn't go out without his muscle along.
    • Muscle Muscular strength or development; as, to show one's muscle by lifting a heavy weight.
    • Muscle (Zoöl) See Mussel.
    • Muscle (Anat) The contractile tissue of which muscles are largely made up.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: It takes 25 muscles to swallow.
    • n muscle A kind of animal tissue consisting of bundles of fibers whose essential physiological characteristic is contractility, or the capability of contracting in length and dilating in breadth on the application of a proper stimulus, as the impulse of a motor nerve, or a shock of electricity; flesh; “lean meat.” By such change of form, the muscles become the immediate means of motion of the different parts of the body, and of locomotion of the body as a whole.
    • n muscle A certain portion of muscle or muscular tissue, having definite position and relation with surrounding parts, and usually fixed at one or both ends. Any one of the separate masses or bundles of muscular fibers constitutes a muscle, which as a whole and in its subdivisions is enveloped in fascial connective tissue and usually attached to the part to be moved by means of a tendon or sinew. Muscles are for the most part attached to bones, with the periosteum of which their tendons are directly continuous. The most extensive or most fixed attachment of a muscle is usually called its origin; the opposite end is its insertion. Individual muscles not only change their shape during contraction, but are of endlessly varied shapes when at rest, indicated by descriptive terms, as conical, fusiform, penniform, digastric, deltoid, etc., besides which each muscle has its specific name. Such names are given from the attachments of the muscle, as sternoclidomastoid, omohyoid; or from function, as flexor, extensor; or from position, as pectoral, gluteal; or from shape, as deltoid, trapezoid; or from some other quality or attribute, in an arbitrary manner. Circular muscles are those whose fibers return upon themselves; they constitute sphincters, as of the mouth, eyelids, and anus. The swelling part of a muscle is called its belly; when there are two such, separated by an intervening tendon, the muscle is double-bellied or digastric. Muscles whose fibers are set obliquely upon an axial tendon are penniform or bipenniform. Muscles whose fibers are all parallel are called simple or rectilinear; those whose fibers intersect or cross each other are called compound. Muscles which act in opposition to one another are termed antagonistic those which concur in the same action are termed congenerous.; Muscles subject to the will are voluntary; their fibers are striped, and they compose the great bulk of the muscular system. Involuntary muscles are not subject to the will; they are generally unstriped, though the heart is an exception to this. Hollow organs whose walls are notably muscular, as the heart, intestine, bladder, and womb, are called hollow muscles. Striped or voluntary muscle is sometimes called muscle of animal life, as distinguished from unstriped involuntary muscle of organic life.
    • n muscle A part, organ, or tissue, of whatever histological character, which has the property of contractility, and is thus capable of motion in itself.
    • n muscle Figuratively, muscular strength; brawn: as, a man of muscle.
    • n muscle See the adjectives.
    • n muscle See mussel.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The caterpillar has more than 2,000 muscles
    • n Muscle mus′l an animal tissue consisting of bundles of fibres through whose contractility bodily movement is effected, the fibres of the voluntary muscles being striped, those of the involuntary (of intestinal canal, blood-vessels, and of skin) unstriped
    • n Muscle a. marine bivalve shellfish, used for food
    • ***


  • Frank Herbert Dune
    Frank Herbert Dune
    “People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles.”
  • Dag Hammarskjold
    “Life yields only to the conqueror. Never accept what can be gained by giving in. You will be living off stolen goods, and your muscles will atrophy.”
  • Jean Paul
    “Other exercises develop single powers and muscles, but dancing embellishes, exercises, and equalizes all the muscles at once.”
  • Thomas A. Edison
    “Great ideas originate in the muscles.”
  • Albert Einstein
    “We should take care not to make the intellect our god: it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.”
  • Linda Blandford
    Linda Blandford
    “Justice is a concept. Muscle is the reality.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F., fr. L. musculus, a muscle, a little mouse, dim. of mus, a mouse. See Mouse, and cf. sense 3 (below)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. muxle; Ger. muschel, Fr. moule; all from L. musculus.


In literature:

Doing an ordinary day's work, for eighty days, this mass of muscle would be wholly oxidised.
"Fragments of science, V. 1-2" by John Tyndall
Just a few little instants of struggle, and then exhaustion, if indeed the icy waters did not paralyze his muscles.
"The Snowshoe Trail" by Edison Marshall
He moved a little in his blanket, tested his muscles and found them all flexible.
"The Border Watch" by Joseph A. Altsheler
Sheila dropped on the couch with a satisfied sigh, stretching her arms above her head, her hands clasped, every muscle of her relaxing.
"Desert Conquest" by A. M. Chisholm
He went boldly, though his muscles were tensed and his eyes alert for surprises.
"'Drag' Harlan" by Charles Alden Seltzer
Under the simple lines of his uniform one apprehended the ripple and play of unclogged muscles.
"The Woman from Outside" by Hulbert Footner
The persecution began a little timidly, for even Tommy could not be insensible to the latent power of those muscles and fangs.
"Frank of Freedom Hill" by Samuel A. Derieux
All his nerves and muscles were tense and drawn.
"The Riflemen of the Ohio" by Joseph A. Altsheler
The way Nagger trembled in every muscle showed his feelings.
"The Boy Scouts Book of Campfire Stories" by Various
The muscles of the bronco's legs stood out as it leaned forward and scratched for a foothold.
"The Fighting Edge" by William MacLeod Raine

In poetry:

White, firm-muscled,
The flesh of his body;
Wind, sun, earth
In him, possessing him.
"Ode To Walt Whitman" by Stephen Vincent Benet
Hounds, whose voices could give warning
From far moors of stags at bay,
Quiver in each iron muscle,
Howl, impatient of delay.
"Loch Buy" by John Douglas Sutherland Campbell
I was athletic in my way
And on my muscle went it strong,
And stood to fight or ran to play,
Regardless of the right or wrong.
"Youthful Reminiscences" by David John Scott
This lady of the luting tongue,
The flash in darkness, billow's grace,
For thee the worship; for the young
In muscle the embrace.
"The Last Contention" by George Meredith
An' never man or woman saw
That airm o' his laid bare;
But weel they ken'd that the bane was black,
An' nae flesh or muscle there.
"The Weary Weird" by Alexander Anderson
And in a French orchard lies whatever is left
Of my friend, Gordon Rennie, whose courage would toughen
The muscle of resolution; he laughed
At death's serious face, but once too often.
"An Old Lament Renewed" by Vernon Scannell

In news:

A workout warrior looking to build muscle should keep these top protein sources stocked.
It only took me about a minute to scramble up the 20-foot wall, but by the top, my muscles, mind, and nerves were all quivering — my muscles because climbing straight up with arms and legs on tiny pegs gets your blood immediately surging.
Visual Arts Picasso drew and painted plenty of sphincters in his perverse erotic fantasias, but the necessary but generally unglamorous muscle doesn't get a lot of face time in fine art—not even in nudes.
West Coast Muscle Car Club Show 2011.
West Coast Muscle Car Club Show at Ave Maria.
Hand Sanitizer May Impair Muscle Contraction .
Boston arts institutions flexed their muscles in 2011.
Women's Magazine: Flexing Our Activist Muscles.
Faithful flexing muscles before Election Day.
Citigroup's CEO Switch: Is Chairman Michael O'Neill Flexing His Muscle.
Women flexing their political muscles.
Cokie & Steven V Roberts: Women flexing their muscles.
Flexing the Wrong Muscles.
Women are flexing their political muscle.
Pac-12 rundown for Monday: Look who's flexing its muscle, UCLA and Oregon State in the resurgent Pac-12.

In science:

It does not require much muscle strength but it does need a high degree of muscle coordination.
Music in Terms of Science
Physically ǫ(e, g )−1 determines the refractory time period of this model of ventricular muscle.
Spiral Turbulence: From the Oxidation of CO on Pt(110) to Ventricular Fibrillation
Dystrophin is a large, rod-like cytoskeletal protein which is found at the inner surface of muscle fibers.
Determinative degree and nucleotide sequence analysis by trianders
An interesting observation is that there seems to be a kind of a natural background oscillations of the muscles at constant-force contractions.
Review of Nonlinear Methods and Modelling
Basmajian & de Luca notes later that this phenomenon may perhaps be related to another property of the muscle.
Review of Nonlinear Methods and Modelling