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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. small mouse
  2. (anatomy) muscle
  3. saltwater mussel
  4. (military) mantelet, shielding


Second declension.

Case Singular Plural
nominative mūsculus mūsculī
genitive mūsculī mūsculōrum
dative mūsculō mūsculīs
accusative mūsculum mūsculōs
ablative mūsculō mūsculīs
vocative mūscule mūsculī

Derived terms[edit]



  • 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
  • du Cange, Charles (1883), “musculus”, in G. A. Louis Henschel, Pierre Carpentier, Léopold Favre, editors, Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (in Latin), Niort: L. Favre
  • musculus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français [Illustrated Latin-French Dictionary], 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