[ muhs-terd ]
/ ˈmʌs tərd /


a pungent powder or paste prepared from the seed of the mustard plant, used as a food seasoning or condiment, and medicinally in plasters, poultices, etc.
any of various acrid or pungent plants, especially of the genus Brassica, as B. juncea (leaf mustard), the leaves of which are used for food and B. nigra (black mustard), the chief source of commercial mustard, and Sinapis alba (white mustard).Compare mustard family.


    cut the mustard, Slang. to reach or surpass the desired standard of performance: a pitcher who cuts the mustard with his fastball.

Origin of mustard

1300–50; Middle English < Old French moustarde a relish orig. made of mustard seed and must, equivalent to moust must2 + -arde -ard

Can be confused

muster mustard Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for cut the mustard


/ (ˈmʌstəd) /


any of several Eurasian plants of the genus Brassica, esp black mustard and white mustard, having yellow or white flowers and slender pods and cultivated for their pungent seeds: family Brassicaceae (crucifers)See also charlock
a paste made from the powdered seeds of any of these plants and used as a condiment
  1. a brownish-yellow colour
  2. (as adjective)a mustard carpet
slang, mainly US zest or enthusiasm
cut the mustard slang to come up to expectations

Word Origin for mustard

C13: from Old French moustarde, from Latin mustum must ², since the original condiment was made by adding must
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

Idioms and Phrases with cut the mustard (1 of 2)

cut the mustard

Perform satisfactorily, as in We need a better catcher; this one just doesn't cut the mustard. The origin of this expression is disputed. Some believe it alludes to mustard in the sense of the best or main attraction (owing to its spicing up food), whereas others believe it is a corruption of pass muster. Still others hold that it concerns the preparation of mustard, which involves adding vinegar to mustard seed to “cut” (reduce) its bitterness. The expression is often in negative form, as in the example. [Slang; c. 1900]

Idioms and Phrases with cut the mustard (2 of 2)


see cut the mustard.

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