a heavy, large-caliber smoothbore gun for infantry soldiers, introduced in the 16th century: the predecessor of the modern rifle.
the male sparrow hawk, Accipiter nisus.

Origin of musket

1580–90; < Middle French mousquet < Italian moschetto crossbow arrow, later musket, orig. kind of hawk, equivalent to mosch(a) fly (< Latin musca) + -etto -et Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for musket

rifle, carbine, weapon, firearm, fusil

Examples from the Web for musket

Historical Examples of musket

  • In spite of the wound he seized the musket and forcibly wrested it from our hero.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Those are not Sniders they carry--don't know that kind of musket.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • All those who could bear a musket were gone to meet the invasion.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • There are six thousand men of a sort in the camp, but not one in five carries a musket.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • You were not hit by the bullet from the redcoat's musket, Dick?

    The Dare Boys of 1776

    Stephen Angus Cox

British Dictionary definitions for musket



a long-barrelled muzzle-loading shoulder gun used between the 16th and 18th centuries by infantry soldiers

Word Origin for musket

C16: from French mousquet, from Italian moschetto arrow, earlier: sparrow hawk, from moscha a fly, from Latin musca
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 musket

"firearm for infantry" (later replaced by the rifle), 1580s, from Middle French mousquette, also the name of a kind of sparrow-hawk, diminutive of mosca "a fly," from Latin musca (see midge). The hawk so called either for its size or because it looks speckled when in flight. Early firearms often were given names of beasts (cf. dragoon), and the equivalent word in Italian was used to mean "an arrow for a crossbow." The French word was borrowed earlier into English (early 15c.) in its literal sense of "sparrow-hawk."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper