Origin of muscular

1675–85; < Latin mūscul(us) muscle + -ar1
Related formsmus·cu·lar·i·ty, nounmus·cu·lar·ly, adverbin·ter·mus·cu·lar, adjectivein·ter·mus·cu·lar·ly, adverbin·ter·mus·cu·lar·i·ty, nounnon·mus·cu·lar, adjectivenon·mus·cu·lar·ly, adverbpost·mus·cu·lar, adjectivesub·mus·cu·lar, adjectivesub·mus·cu·lar·ly, adverbun·mus·cu·lar, adjectiveun·mus·cu·lar·ly, adverb

Synonyms for muscular Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for muscular

Contemporary Examples of muscular

Historical Examples of muscular

  • He knew the power in her lean, muscular arms, the strength in her narrow shoulders.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • A little, muscular, brown man, with black hair and white teeth.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • He had not touched a muscle or a muscular nerve; what then was the nature of these movements?


    Samuel Smiles

  • But Modred was in the pride of youth; muscular and sinewy was the frame of Modred.


    William Godwin

  • Men, she says, maintain their muscular strength by military service.

British Dictionary definitions for muscular



having well-developed muscles; brawny
of, relating to, or consisting of muscle
Derived Formsmuscularity (ˌmʌskjʊˈlærɪtɪ), nounmuscularly, adverb

Word Origin for muscular

C17: from New Latin muscularis, from musculus muscle
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 muscular

1680s, "pertaining to muscles," from Latin musculus (see muscle (n.)) + -ar. Earlier in same sense was musculous (early 15c.). Meaning "having well-developed muscles" is from 1736. Muscular Christianity (1857) is originally in reference to philosophy of Anglican clergyman and novelist Charles Kingsley (1819-1875). Muscular dystrophy attested from 1886.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

muscular in Medicine




Of, relating to, or consisting of muscle.
Having or characterized by well-developed muscles.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

muscular in Science



A body tissue composed of sheets or bundles of cells that contract to produce movement or increase tension. Muscle cells contain filaments made of the proteins actin and myosin, which lie parallel to each other. When a muscle is signaled to contract, the actin and myosin filaments slide past each other in an overlapping pattern.Skeletal muscle effects voluntary movement and is made up of bundles of elongated cells (muscle fibers), each of which contains many nuclei.Smooth muscle provides the contractile force for the internal organs and is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Smooth muscle cells are spindle-shaped and each contains a single nucleus.Cardiac muscle makes up the muscle of the heart and consists of a meshwork of striated cells.
Related formsmuscular adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.