From mūs (mouse) +‎ -culus (diminutive suffix), or literally little mouse. The muscle sense is a semantic loan from Ancient Greek μῦς (mûs, mouse; muscle).



mūsculus m (genitive mūsculī); second declension

  1. (literally) small mouse
  2. (transferred sense)
    1. companion of the whale
    2. saltwater mussel
    3. (anatomy) muscle
    4. (military) shed, mantelet, shielding
    5. A kind of small sailing vessel.
  This entry needs quotations to illustrate usage. If you come across any interesting, durably archived quotes then please add them!


Second-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative mūsculus mūsculī
Genitive mūsculī mūsculōrum
Dative mūsculō mūsculīs
Accusative mūsculum mūsculōs
Ablative mūsculō mūsculīs
Vocative mūscule mūsculī

Derived termsEdit



  • musculus in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • musculus in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • musculus in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition, 1883–1887)
  • musculus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • musculus in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • musculus in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin