[muhs-uh l-man]
noun, plural mus·cle·men.
  1. Informal. a man with a muscular or brawny physique, especially a bodybuilder.
  2. Slang. a bodyguard, especially one hired to intimidate others, often by strong-arm methods.

Origin of muscleman

An Americanism dating back to 1925–30; muscle + man1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for muscle-man


noun plural -men
  1. a man with highly developed muscles
  2. a henchman employed by a gangster to intimidate or use violence upon victims
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 muscle-man

1929, originally "an underworld enforcer;" sense of "strong man" first attested 1952; from muscle (n.) + man (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper