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From Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-Norman mostrer, Middle French monstrer, moustrer (whence the noun monstre, which gave the English noun), from Latin mōnstrāre (to show), from monere (to admonish). Cognate with French montrer (to show), Italian mostrare (to show), Spanish mostrar (to show). See also monster.



muster (plural musters)

  1. Gathering.
    1. An assemblage or display; a gathering, collection of people or things. [from 14th c.]
      • 1743, Richard Steele & Joseph Addison, The Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq.:
        She seems to hear the Repetition of his Mens Names with Admiration; and waits only to answer him with as false a Muster of Lovers.
      • Macaulay
        Of the temporal grandees of the realm, and of their wives and daughters, the muster was great and splendid.
      • 1920, Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, Official Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia, Issue 13,
        The figures from 1788 to 1825 inclusive, as already mentioned, are based on the musters taken in those years; those for subsequent years are based upon estimates made on the basis of Census results and the annual [] .
    2. (chiefly military) An assembling or review of troops, as for parade, verification of numbers, inspection, exercise, or introduction into service. [from 15th c.]
      • 1598, William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part 1:
        Come, let vs take a muster speedily: / Doomesday is neere; dye all, dye merrily.
      • 1663, Samuel Pepys, Diary, 4 Jul 1663:
        And after long being there, I 'light, and walked to the place where the King, Duke &c., did stand to see the horse and foot march by and discharge their guns, to show a French Marquisse (for whom this muster was caused) the goodness of our firemen []
      • 2010, Ohtar, "Enthroned", Slechtvalk, A Forlorn Throne.
        To shorten his way and to hasten for the muster he takes a long lost road.
    3. The sum total of an army when assembled for review and inspection; the whole number of effective men in an army.
      • Wyclif
        The muster was thirty thousands of men.
      • Hooker
        Ye publish the musters of your own bands, and proclaim them to amount of thousands.
    4. (Australia, New Zealand) A roundup of livestock for inspection, branding, drenching, shearing etc. [from 19th c.]
      • 2006, John Gilfoyle, Bloody Jackaroos!, Boolarong Press:
        McGuire took the two of them out to Kidman's Bore on the Sylvester River where about two dozen stockmen from different stations had gathered to tend the muster along the edge of the Simpson Desert.
  2. Showing.
    1. (obsolete) Something shown for imitation; a pattern. [15th-19th c.]
    2. (obsolete) An act of showing something; a display. [15th-17th c.]
      • 1590, Sir Philip Sidney, Arcadia, Book III:
        Thus all things being condignely ordered, will an ill favoured impatiencie he waited, until the next morning he might make a muster of him selfe in the Iland [...].
      • 1647, Beaumont and Fletcher, The Queen of Corinth, Act 2:
        And when you find your women's favour fail, / 'Tis ten to one you'll know yourself, and seek me, / Upon a better muster of your manners.
    3. A collection of peafowl (an invented term rather than one used by zoologists). [from 15th c.]

Derived termsEdit



muster (third-person singular simple present musters, present participle mustering, simple past and past participle mustered)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To show, exhibit. [15th-17th c.]
  2. (intransitive) To be gathered together for parade, inspection, exercise, or the like (especially of a military force); to come together as parts of a force or body. [from 15th c.]
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, The Haunted House
      We were then in the third week of November; but, we took our measures so vigorously, and were so well seconded by the friends in whom we confided, that there was still a week of the month unexpired, when our party all came down together merrily, and mustered in the haunted house.
  3. (transitive) To collect, call or assemble together, such as troops or a group for inspection, orders, display etc. [from 15th c.]
    • 12 July 2012, Sam Adams, AV Club Ice Age: Continental Drift
      With the help of some low-end boosting, Dinklage musters a decent amount of kid-appropriate menace—although he never does explain his gift for finding chunks of ice shaped like pirate ships—but Romano and Leary mainly sound bored, droning through their lines as if they’re simultaneously texting the contractors building the additions on their houses funded by their fat sequel paychecks.
  4. (transitive, US) To enroll (into service). [from 19th c.]
  5. (transitive, Australia, New Zealand) To gather or round up livestock.


  • (gather, unite, especially troops): rally

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.






  1. Imperative singular of mustern.