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adjective, adverb British Slang.
  1. damned.
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Origin of mucking

First recorded in 1595–1605; muck + -ing2


  1. moist farmyard dung, decaying vegetable matter, etc.; manure.
  2. a highly organic, dark or black soil, less than 50 percent combustible, often used as a manure.
  3. mire; mud.
  4. filth, dirt, or slime.
  5. defamatory or sullying remarks.
  6. a state of chaos or confusion: to make a muck of things.
  7. Chiefly British Informal. something of no value; trash.
  8. (especially in mining) earth, rock, or other useless matter to be removed in order to get out the mineral or other substances sought.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to manure.
  2. to make dirty; soil.
  3. to remove muck from (sometimes followed by out).
  4. Informal.
    1. to ruin; bungle (often followed by up).
    2. to put into a state of complete confusion (often followed by up).
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Verb Phrases
  1. muck about/around, Informal. to idle; waste time; loiter.
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Origin of muck

1200–50; Middle English muc, muk < Old Norse myki cow dung
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for mucking

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Yes, you've taken to mucking your work—doing it in a most slovenly way.


    Emile Zola

  • But what's the good of my mucking about in a filthy uniform?

  • We got the idea from the British Tommy, only he calls it "mucking it."

  • "I don't mean to have any one else mucking around," growled Dunn in answer.

  • Roving and changing and mucking about in crowds—no; I was fed up with that when he sent me away to school.

British Dictionary definitions for mucking


  1. farmyard dung or decaying vegetable matter
  2. Also called: muck soil an organic soil rich in humus and used as a fertilizer
  3. dirt or filth
  4. earth, rock material, etc, removed during mining excavations
  5. slang, mainly British rubbish
  6. See Lord Muck, Lady Muck
  7. make a muck of slang, mainly British to ruin or spoil
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verb (tr)
  1. to spread manure upon (fields, gardens, etc)
  2. to soil or pollute
  3. (often foll by out) to clear muck from
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Word Origin

C13: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse myki dung, Norwegian myk
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 mucking



mid-13c., "cow dung and vegetable matter spread as manure," from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse myki, mykr "cow dung," Danish møg, from Proto-Germanic *muk-, *meuk- "soft." Meaning "unclean matter generally" is from c.1300. Muck-sweat first attested 1690s.

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late 14c., "to dig in the ground," also "to remove manure," early 15c., "to spread manure, cover with muck," from muck (n.). Meaning "to make dirty" is from 1832; in the figurative sense, "to make a mess of," it is from 1886; to muck about "mess around" is from 1856. Related: Mucked; mucking.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper