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[myool] /myul/
the sterile offspring of a female horse and a male donkey, valued as a work animal, having strong muscles, a body shaped like a horse, and donkeylike long ears, small feet, and sure-footedness.
Compare hinny.
any hybrid between the donkey and the horse.
Informal. a very stubborn person.
Botany. any sterile hybrid.
Slang. a person paid to carry or transport contraband, especially drugs, for a smuggler.
a small locomotive used for pulling rail cars, as in a coal yard or on an industrial site, or for towing, as of ships through canal locks.
Also called spinning mule. a machine for spinning cotton or other fibers into yarn and winding the yarn on spindles.
Nautical. a large triangular staysail set between two masts and having its clew set well aft.
Numismatics. a hybrid coin having the obverse of one issue and the reverse of the succeeding issue, or vice versa.
Biology. a hybrid, especially one between the canary and some other finch.
Origin of mule1
before 1000; Middle English < Old French < Latin mūla mule (feminine); replacing Old English mūl < Latin mūlus (masculine)


[myool] /myul/
a lounging slipper that covers the toes and instep or only the instep.
a woman's shoe resembling this.
1350-1400; Middle English: sore spot on the heel, chilblain, perhaps < Middle Dutch mūle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for mule
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A wagon or a mule would have caused his death almost immediately.

    Our Part in the Great War Arthur Gleason
  • Boss, that friend of yours has a vocabulary that'd turn a mule into a race horse.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • Free the mule of the cart, and of all harness but the bare halter.

  • A bride, on leaving her home, is lifted on her mule by a negro, if there is one in the village.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • At my cry of distress Sam suddenly looked up and jerked the mule's head so that he, too, stopped and regarded me.

    Over Paradise Ridge Maria Thompson Daviess
British Dictionary definitions for mule


the sterile offspring of a male donkey and a female horse, used as a beast of burden Compare hinny1
any hybrid animal: a mule canary
Also called spinning mule. a machine invented by Samuel Crompton that spins cotton into yarn and winds the yarn on spindles
(informal) an obstinate or stubborn person
(slang) a person who is paid to transport illegal drugs for a dealer
Word Origin
C13: from Old French mul, from Latin mūlus ass, mule


a backless shoe or slipper
Word Origin
C16: from Old French from Latin mulleus a magistrate's shoe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for mule

See drug mule's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for mule

"offspring of donkey and horse," from Old English mul, Old French mul "mule, hinny" (12c., fem. mule), both from Latin mulus (fem. mula) "a mule," probably from a pre-Latin Mediterranean language.

The mule combines the strength of the horse with the endurance and surefootedness of the ass, and is extensively bred for certain employments for which it is more suited than either; it is ordinarily incapable of procreation. With no good grounds, the mule is a proverbial type of obstinacy. [OED]
Properly, the offspring of a he-ass and a mare; that of a she-ass and a stallion is technically a hinny. Used allusively of hybrids and things of mixed nature. As a type of spinning machine, attested from 1797 (so called because a hybrid of distinct warp and woof machines). Meaning "obstinate, stupid, or stubborn person" is from 1470s; that of "narcotics smuggler or courier" first attested 1935.

"loose slipper," 1560s, from Middle French mule, from Latin mulleus calceus "red high-soled shoe," worn by Roman patricians, from mullus "red" (see mullet (n.1)). Related: Mules.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for mule



  1. A stubborn person: He's a hardheaded mule (1848+)
  2. Crude raw whiskey; moonshine, white mule (1926+)
  3. A person who carries, delivers, or smuggles narcotics or other contraband: The danger to the mule is that a packet may rupture/ ''Mules'' carry coke in picture frames and sealed in the sides of suitcases/ American currency was spirited out of the country then, often by ''mules'' (1935+ Narcotics)
  4. A condom stuffed with narcotics, carried in the vagina or rectum (1970s+ Narcotics)


: Sometimes they mule it in small amounts/ otherwise law-abiding countrymen into performing muling favors

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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mule in Technology
text, tool
A multi-lingual enhancement of GNU Emacs. Mule can handle not only ASCII characters (7 bit) and ISO Latin 1 characters (8 bit), but also 16-bit characters like Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. Mule can have a mixture of languages in a single buffer.
Mule runs under the X window system, or on a Hangul terminal, mterm or exterm.
Latest version: 2.3.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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mule in the Bible

(Heb. pered), so called from the quick step of the animal or its power of carrying loads. It is not probable that the Hebrews bred mules, as this was strictly forbidden in the law (Lev. 19:19), although their use was not forbidden. We find them in common use even by kings and nobles (2 Sam. 18:9; 1 Kings 1:33; 2 Kings 5:17; Ps. 32:9). They are not mentioned, however, till the time of David, for the word rendered "mules" (R.V. correctly, "hot springs") in Gen. 36:24 (yemim) properly denotes the warm springs of Callirhoe, on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. In David's reign they became very common (2 Sam. 13:29; 1 Kings 10:25). Mules are not mentioned in the New Testament. Perhaps they had by that time ceased to be used in Palestine.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with mule


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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