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[muht-n] /ˈmʌt n/
the flesh of sheep, especially full-grown or more mature sheep, used as food.
Origin of mutton1
1250-1300; Middle English moton sheep < Old French < Celtic; compare MIr molt, Welsh mollt, Breton maout wether
Related forms
muttony, adjective


[muht-n] /ˈmʌt n/
noun, Printing.
em (def 2).
Also called mut.
1935-40; code term, coined to differentiate the pronunciation of em quad from en quad Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for mutton


the flesh of sheep, esp of mature sheep, used as food
mutton dressed as lamb, an older woman dressed up to look young
(printing) another word for em (sense 1) Compare nut (sense 12)
Derived Forms
muttony, adjective
Word Origin
C13 moton sheep, from Old French, from Medieval Latin multō, of Celtic origin; the term was adopted in printing to distinguish the pronunciation of em quad from en quad
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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Word Origin and History for mutton

"flesh of sheep used as food," late 13c., from Old French moton "mutton; ram, wether, sheep" (12c., Modern French mouton), from Medieval Latin multonem (8c.), probably from Gallo-Romance *multo-s, accusative of Celtic *multo "sheep" (cf. Old Irish molt "wether," Mid-Breton mout, Welsh mollt); the same word also was borrowed into Italian as montone "a sheep." Transferred slang sense of "food for lust, loose women, prostitutes" (1510s) led to extensive British slang uses down to the present day for woman variously regarded as seeking lovers or as lust objects. Mutton chop is from 1720; as a style of side whiskers, from 1865.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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