From Middle English muskett, muskete, muskytte (“sparrow hawk”), from Old Northern French mousket, mosquet, from Italian moschetto, diminutive of mosca (“fly”). The firearm was named after the sparrowhawk because of its small size, and the "firearm" sense was reborrowed from modern French mousquet.
musket (plural muskets)
- A kind of firearm formerly carried by the infantry of an army. It was originally fired by means of a match, or matchlock, for which several mechanical appliances (including the flintlock, and finally the percussion lock) were successively substituted. This arm has been superseded by the rifle.
- Soldier, soldier, won't you marry me, with your musket, fife and drum.
- Sam, Sam, pick up thy musket.
- (falconry) A male Eurasian sparrowhawk.