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[muhz-uh l] /ˈmʌz əl/
the mouth, or end for discharge, of the barrel of a gun, pistol, etc.
the projecting part of the head of an animal, including jaws, mouth, and nose.
a device, usually an arrangement of straps or wires, placed over an animal's mouth to prevent the animal from biting, eating, etc.
verb (used with object), muzzled, muzzling.
to put a muzzle on (an animal or its mouth) so as to prevent biting, eating, etc.
to restrain from speech, the expression of opinion, etc.:
The censors muzzled the press.
Nautical. to attach the cable to the stock of (an anchor) by means of a light line to permit the anchor to be pulled loose readily.
Origin of muzzle
1350-1400; Middle English musel < Middle French < Medieval Latin mūsellum, diminutive of mūsum snout < ?
5. silence, quiet, still, supress. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for muzzling
Historical Examples
  • I am glad to say that during the Omdurman Campaign there was no attempt, within my knowledge, of muzzling the press.

    Khartoum Campaign, 1898 Bennet Burleigh
  • But office is regarded as a muzzling order, as far as I can make out.

    Scarlet and Hyssop E. F. Benson
  • I saw an experienced man get a thumb terribly lacerated while muzzling a wolf, yet he succeeded, and in an incredibly short time.

  • The muzzling regulations in Norwich were withdrawn in the last week in October.

    Norfolk Annals Charles Mackie
  • The inefficiency of some orders for the muzzling of dogs makes nothing against these facts.

  • He had been up to town to get the dogs new muzzles, as the muzzling order has just been put in force in this county.

  • There is no reason why the disease could not be stamped out of a state in six months by muzzling all the dogs.

    Rural Hygiene Henry N. Ogden
  • "No wonder Mr. Bilton preferred heaven," thought Anna-Felicitas, also a little restless at the completeness of her muzzling.

    Christopher and Columbus Countess Elizabeth Von Arnim
  • There is a Press, but the muzzling order has long been in force, and recalcitrant editors soon see the inside of the Penitentiary.

    The American Egypt Channing Arnold
  • He is the most poisonous kind of bore, and I'll gladly pay for the removal of the cowl, if that's the only way of muzzling him.

British Dictionary definitions for muzzling


the projecting part of the face, usually the jaws and nose, of animals such as the dog and horse
a guard or strap fitted over an animal's nose and jaws to prevent it biting or eating
the front end of a gun barrel
verb (transitive)
to prevent from being heard or noticed: to muzzle the press
to put a muzzle on (an animal)
to take in (a sail)
Derived Forms
muzzler, noun
Word Origin
C15 mosel, from Old French musel, diminutive of muse snout, from Medieval Latin mūsus, of unknown origin
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 muzzling



late 14c., "device put over an animal's mouth to stop it from biting, eating, or rooting," from Old French musel "muzzle," also "snout, nose" (12c., Modern French museau), from muse "muzzle," from Gallo-Romance *musa "snout" (cf. Provençal mus, Old Spanish mus, Italian muso), of unknown origin, possibly related to Latin morsus "bite" (but OED finds "serious difficulties" with this). Meaning "projecting part of the head of an animal" is from early 15c. in English; sense of "open end of a firearm" first recorded 1560s.


"to put a muzzle on," early 15c., from muzzle (n.). Figurative use from 1610s. Related: Muzzled; muzzling.



"to put a muzzle on," early 15c., from muzzle (n.). Figurative use from 1610s. Related: Muzzled; muzzling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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