• synonyms


[muhsh or especially for 2–5, moo sh]
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  1. meal, especially cornmeal, boiled in water or milk until it forms a thick, soft mass, or until it is stiff enough to mold into a loaf for slicing and frying.
  2. any thick, soft mass.
  3. mawkish sentimentality or amorousness.
  4. anything unpleasantly or contemptibly lacking in coherence, force, dignity, etc.: His entire argument was simply mush.
verb (used with object)
  1. to squeeze or crush; crunch: to mush all the candy together in a sticky ball.

Origin of mush1

1665–75, Americanism; obscurely akin to mash1


verb (used without object)
  1. to go or travel, especially over snow with a dog team and sled.
verb (used with object)
  1. to drive or spur on (sled dogs or a sled drawn by dogs).
  1. go! (used as an order to start or speed up a dog team)
  1. a trip or journey, especially across snow and ice with a dog team.

Origin of mush2

1895–1900; perhaps orig. as phrasal v. mush on! < Canadian French, French marchons! let's go!; see march1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mushing

Historical Examples

  • The nearest camp is two good days mushing, with good fresh dogs.

    The Snow-Burner

    Henry Oyen

  • There were two more in their gang, who were across the river "mushing" in Harrisburg.

    The Road

    Jack London

  • "Come on, Shorty; we'll be getting along," Smoke said, mushing the dogs.

    Smoke Bellew

    Jack London

  • The Indian guide was mushing before, bent low with the weight of his pack, and head lowered to the sweep of the wind.

    The Gold Girl

    James B. Hendryx

  • Now he fancied himself again a schoolboy, now a ranger in Arizona, now mushing on the snow trails of Alaska.

    A Daughter of the Dons

    William MacLeod Raine

British Dictionary definitions for mushing


  1. a soft pulpy mass or consistency
  2. US a thick porridge made from corn meal
  3. informal cloying sentimentality
  4. radio interference in reception, esp a hissing noise
  1. (tr) to reduce (a substance) to a soft pulpy mass

Word Origin

C17: from obsolete moose porridge; probably related to mash; compare Old English mōs food


  1. an order to dogs in a sled team to start up or go faster
  1. to travel by or drive a dog sled
  2. (intr) to travel on foot, esp with snowshoes
  1. a journey with a dogsled
Derived Formsmusher, noun

Word Origin

C19: perhaps from French marchez or marchons, imperatives of marcher to advance


noun British
  1. a slang word for face (def. 1)

Word Origin

C19: from mush 1, alluding to the softness of the face


  1. British slang a familiar or contemptuous term of address

Word Origin

C19: probably from Gypsy moosh a man
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

Word Origin and History for mushing



"kind of porridge," 1670s, in the American colonies, variant of mash (n.) "soft mixture." Meaning "anything soft and thick" is attested from 1824.



command to sled dogs, first recorded 1862, as mouche, perhaps altered from French marchons! "advance!" (imperative of marcher "to march;" see march (v.)).



"to pound to a pulp," 1781, from mush (n.). Related: Mushed; mushing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper