Do you have the muscle to muscle your way to the top? Muscle is both a noun and verb associated with strength, power, or the use of physical force.

In addition to biological muscle, like the biceps in your arms, muscle can refer simply to power or authority, as in “We have the muscle to get the job done.” Muscle can also refer to a hired thug. In a similar sense, muscle is used as a verb to mean “use force.” A bully might muscle someone out of their lunch money, or you might muscle your way through a crowd by pushing people out of your way.

Definitions of muscle

n animal tissue consisting predominantly of contractile cells

muscular tissue
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striated muscle tissue
muscle tissue characterized by transverse stripes
cardiac muscle, heart muscle
the muscle tissue of the heart; adapted to continued rhythmic contraction
smooth muscle
muscle tissue that does not appear striated under the microscope; has the form of thin layers or sheets
SA node, cardiac pacemaker, pacemaker, sinoatrial node
a specialized bit of heart tissue that controls the heartbeat
papillary muscle
any of several muscles associated with the atrioventricular valves
atrioventricular bundle, atrioventricular trunk, bundle of His, truncus atrioventricularis
a bundle of modified heart muscle that transmits the cardiac impulse from the atrioventricular node to the ventricles causing them to contract
atrioventricular node
a node of specialized heart muscle located in the septal wall of the right atrium; receives impulses from the sinoatrial node and transmits them to atrioventricular bundle
the middle muscular layer of the heart wall
Purkinje fiber
a specialized cardiac muscle fiber that is part of the Purkinje network
Purkinje network, Purkinje's system, Purkinje's tissue
a network of Purkinje fibers that carry the cardiac impulse from the atrioventricular node to the ventricles of the heart and causes them to contract
Type of:
animal tissue
the tissue in the bodies of animals

n one of the contractile organs of the body

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skeletal muscle, striated muscle
a muscle that is connected at either or both ends to a bone and so move parts of the skeleton; a muscle that is characterized by transverse stripes
a muscle that produces or assists in pronation
a muscle (especially in the forearm) that produces or assists in supination
a muscle that serves to lift some body part (as the eyelid or lip)
antagonistic muscle
(physiology) a muscle that opposes the action of another
eye muscle, ocular muscle
one of the small muscles of the eye that serve to rotate the eyeball
any of various straight muscles
involuntary muscle, smooth muscle
a muscle that contracts without conscious control and found in walls of internal organs such as stomach and intestine and bladder and blood vessels (excluding the heart)
anatomical sphincter, sphincter, sphincter muscle
a ring of muscle that contracts to close an opening
any of several muscles that cause an attached structure to become tense or firm
voluntary muscle
striated muscle that can be controlled voluntarily
abductor, abductor muscle
a muscle that draws a body part away from the median line
adductor, adductor muscle
a muscle that draws a body part toward the median line
anconeous muscle, musculus anconeus
the muscle that extends the forearm and abducts the ulna in pronation of the wrist
a muscle that contracts while another relaxes
a muscle that relaxes while another contracts
articular muscle
a muscle that inserts directly onto the capsule of a joint
extensor, extensor muscle
a skeletal muscle whose contraction extends or stretches a body part
flexor, flexor muscle
a skeletal muscle whose contraction bends a joint
abducens muscle, lateral rectus, lateral rectus muscle, rectus lateralis
the ocular muscle whose contraction turns the eyeball outward
inferior rectus, inferior rectus muscle, rectus inferior
the ocular muscle whose contraction turns the eyeball down and medially
medial rectus, medial rectus muscle, rectus medialis
the ocular muscle whose contraction turns the eyeball medially
rectus superior, superior rectus, superior rectus muscle
the ocular muscle whose contraction turns the eyeball upward and medially
the smooth muscle forming the wall of the uterus
deltoid, deltoid muscle, musculus deltoideus
a large triangular muscle covering the shoulder joint and serving to abduct and flex and extend and rotate the arm
serratus, serratus muscles
any of several muscles of the trunk
musculus pectoralis, pecs, pectoral, pectoral muscle, pectoralis
either of two large muscles of the chest
intercostal, intercostal muscle, musculus intercostalis
muscles between the ribs; they contract during inspiration
depressor, depressor muscle
any skeletal muscle that draws a body part down
ab, abdominal, abdominal muscle
the muscles of the abdomen
lat, latissimus dorsi
a broad flat muscle on either side of the back
glute, gluteal muscle, gluteus, gluteus muscle
any one of three large skeletal muscles that form the buttock and move the thigh
physiological sphincter
a sphincter that is not recognizable at autopsy because its resting arrangement cannot be distinguished from adjacent tissue
anal sphincter, musculus sphincter ani, sphincter ani
the sphincter muscle of the anus
musculus sphincter ani externus
an external ring of striated muscle surrounding the anus
musculus sphincter ani internus
an internal ring of smooth muscle formed by circular fibers of the rectum
musculus sphincter urethrae, urethral sphincter
a striated sphincter muscle that constricts the urethra
bladder sphincter, musculus sphincter vesicae
the sphincter muscle of the urinary bladder; made up of a thickened muscular layer of bladder around the urethral opening
musculus sphincter ductus choledochi
the smooth muscle sphincter of the common bile duct
musculus sphincter ductus pancreatici
the smooth muscle sphincter of the main pancreatic duct
musculus sphincter pupillae, pupillary sphincter
a ring of smooth muscle surrounding the iris
musculus sphincter pylori, pyloric sphincter, pyloric valve
the sphincter muscle of the pylorus that separates the stomach from the duodenum
tensor tympani
a small muscle in the middle ear that tenses to protect the eardrum
calf, sura
the muscular back part of the shank
gastrocnemius, gastrocnemius muscle
the muscle in the back part of the leg that forms the greater part of the calf; responsible for the plantar flexion of the foot
either of two muscles of the abdomen and pelvis that flex the trunk and rotate the thigh
rhomboid, rhomboid muscle
any of several muscles of the upper back that help move the shoulder blade
soleus, soleus muscle
a broad flat muscle in the calf of the leg under the gastrocnemius muscle
splenius, splenius muscle
either of two flat muscles that extend from the upper vertebrae to the base of the skull and serve to rotate or flex or extend the head and neck
muscle of the lower leg that is involved in moving the foot
pterygoid muscle
muscle descending from the sphenoid bone to the lower jaw
any skeletal muscle having two origins (but especially the muscle that flexes the forearm)
any skeletal muscle having three origins (but especially the triceps brachii)
axial muscle
a skeletal muscle of the trunk or head
musculus sartorius, sartorius, sartorius muscle
a muscle in the thigh that helps to rotate the leg into the sitting position assumed by a tailor; the longest muscle in the human body
musculus scalenus, scalene muscle, scalenus
any of four pairs of muscles extending from the cervical vertebrae to the second rib; involved in moving the neck and in breathing
musculus sternocleidomastoideus, sternocleido mastoideus, sternocleidomastoid, sternocleidomastoid muscle
one of two thick muscles running from the sternum and clavicle to the mastoid and occipital bone; turns head obliquely to the opposite side; when acting together they flex the neck and extend the head
teres, teres muscle
either of two muscles in the shoulder region that move the shoulders and arms
musculus tibialis, tibialis, tibialis muscle
either of two skeletal muscle in each leg arising from the tibia; provides for movement of the foot
cowl muscle, musculus trapezius, trapezius, trapezius muscle
either of two flat triangular muscles of the shoulder and upper back that are involved in moving the shoulders and arms
facial muscle
any of the skeletal muscles of the face
musculus temporalis, temporal muscle, temporalis, temporalis muscle
muscle extending from the temporal fossa to the coronoid process of the mandible; acts to raise the mandible and close the jaws
Type of:
contractile organ, contractor
a bodily organ that contracts

n a bully employed as a thug or bodyguard

Type of:
bully, hooligan, roughneck, rowdy, ruffian, tough, yob, yobbo, yobo
a cruel and brutal fellow

n authority or power or force (especially when used in a coercive way)

“the senators used their muscle to get the party leader to resign”
Type of:
authorisation, authority, authorization, dominance, potency, say-so
the power or right to give orders or make decisions

n possessing muscular strength

brawn, brawniness, heftiness, muscularity, sinew
Type of:
the property of being physically or mentally strong

v make one's way by force

“He muscled his way into the office”
Type of:
go across, go through, pass
go across or through

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