From Middle English muske, borrowed from Old French musc, from Late Latin muscus, from Ancient Greek μόσχος (móskhos), from Middle Persian [script needed] (mwšk' /mušk/) whence Persian مشک (mošk). Ultimately from Sanskrit मुष्क (muṣka, “testicle”), the shape of the gland of animals secreting the substance being compared to human testicles, a diminutive of मूष् (mūṣ, “mouse”), the shape of human testicles being compared to mice, from Proto-Indo-European *muh₂s (“mouse”). Cognate with mouse.
- A greasy secretion with a powerful odour, produced in a glandular sac of the male musk deer and used in the manufacture of perfumes.
- 1607, [attributed to Thomas Tomkis], Lingva: Or The Combat of the Tongue, and the Five Senses for Superiority. A Pleasant Comœdie., London: Printed by G[eorge] Eld, for Simon Waterson, OCLC 52434902, Act IV, scene iii:
- Your onely way to make a good pomander, is this. Take an ownce of the pureſt garden mould, clenſed and ſteeped ſeauen daies in change of motherleſſe roſe water, then take the beſt Labdanum, Benioine, both Storaxes, amber greece, and Ciuet, and muſke, incorporate them together, and work them into what form you pleaſe; this, if your breath bee not to valiant, will make you ſmell as ſweete as my Ladies dogge.
- A similar secretion produced by the otter and the civet.
- A synthetic organic compound used as a substitute for the above.
- The odour of musk.
- The musk deer (genus Moschus).
- The musk plant (Mimulus moschatus).
- A plant of the genus Erodium (Erodium moschatum); the musky heronsbill.
- A plant of the genus Muscari; grape hyacinth.
- (slang, colloquial, vulgar) The scent of human genitalia when aroused or unwashed.
- I was so excited I could smell my own musk.
- Alternative form of