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Word of the Day
Saturday, November 04, 2017

Definitions for musette

  1. a small leather or canvas bag with a shoulder strap, used for carrying personal belongings, food, etc.,while hiking, marching, or the like. Also called musette bag.
  2. a French bagpipe of the 17th and early 18th centuries, with several chambers and drones, and with the wind supplied by a bellows rather than a blowpipe.
  3. a woodwind instrument similar to but smaller than a shawm.

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Citations for musette
Reaching down the first workman pulled out of his musette a bottle of good red French wine. They had a long drink. Ernest Hemingway, "French Speed with Movies on the Job," The Toronto Daily Star, May 16, 1923, republished in Dateline: Toronto, 1985
The lieutenant groped into his musette for a pad and scribbled out a pass. Donn Pearce, Nobody Comes Back, 2005
Origin of musette
There are still some American men who served in the army (if not another branch) during World War II and know what a musette or musette bag is. Musette in the sense “small, lightweight backpack” is an Americanism that first appears in the early 1920s. The word musette comes from French musette “bagpipe” because the shape of the backpack is similar to the sack or bag of the bagpipe. Musette in the sense of bagpipe entered English at the end of the 14th century.