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See also: müffle



From Middle English muflen "to muffle", aphetic alteration of Anglo-Norman amoufler, from Old French enmoufler (to wrap up, muffle), from moufle (mitten), from Medieval Latin muffula (a muff), of Germanic origin (—first recorded in the Capitulary of Aachen in 817 CE), from Frankish *muffël "a muff, wrap, envelope" from *muff- "sleeve, wrap" (from Proto-Germanic *mawwō (sleeve)) + *vël "skin, hide" (from Proto-Germanic *fellą (skin, film, fleece), from Proto-Indo-European *pel(e)(w)-, *plē(w)- (skin, hide)). Akin to Middle High German mouwe, mōwe (sleeve) (German Muff "muff", Dutch mouw "sleeve"). Alternate etymology traces the Medieval Latin word to Frankish *molfell (soft garment made of hide) from *mol (softened, forworn) (akin to Old High German molawēn "to soften", Middle High German molwic "soft") + *fell (hide, skin). Akin to Old High German fel (fell, skin, hide), Old English fell (fell, skin, hide). More at mulch, fell, camouflage.



muffle (plural muffles)

  1. Anything that mutes or deadens sound.
  2. A warm piece of clothing for the hands.
  3. (slang, archaic) A boxing glove.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
      N.B.—Mr Broughton proposes, with proper assistance, to open an academy at his house in the Haymarket, for the instruction of those who are willing to be initiated in the mystery of boxing: [] muffles are provided, that will effectually secure them from the inconveniency of black eyes, broken jaws, and bloody noses.
  4. A kiln or furnace, often electric, with no direct flames (a muffle furnace)
  5. The bare end of the nose between the nostrils, especially in ruminants.



muffle (third-person singular simple present muffles, present participle muffling, simple past and past participle muffled)

  1. (transitive) To wrap (a person, face etc.) in fabric or another covering, for warmth or protection; often with up.
    • Addison
      The face lies muffled up within the garment.
    • Dryden
      He muffled with a cloud his mournful eyes.
    • Arbuthnot
      muffled up in darkness and superstition
  2. (transitive) To wrap up or cover (a source of noise) in order to deaden the sound.
    to muffle the strings of a drum, or that part of an oar which rests in the rowlock
  3. (transitive) To mute or deaden (a sound etc.).
    • 1999, George RR Martin, A Clash of Kings, Bantam 2011, p. 397:
      The singer's voice was muffled by the thick walls, yet Tyrion knew the verse.
  4. (intransitive, dated) To speak indistinctly, or without clear articulation.
  5. (transitive, dated) To prevent seeing, or hearing, or speaking, by wraps bound about the head; to blindfold; to deafen.