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An inflated notion of one's strength, ego, or bravado due to excess consumption of alcohol (not necessarily beer). When he drinks, Jeff always gets beer muscles and wants to fight every guy in the bar. I tend to get beer muscles when I drink too much, and I find myself trying some new outrageous physical feat to show off to my friends.
flex (one's) muscle(s)
1. Literally, to contract one's muscles, especially to demonstrate their size and strength. He's so vain, flexing his muscles in the mirror whenever he thinks no one is looking. She flexed her muscles and told us not to mess with her brother again.
2. By extension, to demonstrate one's influence, power, or strength. The small but outspoken nation has been flexing its muscles lately, with a wide range of military demonstrations. The wealthy business tycoon flexed his muscle to get the charges dropped against his son.
See also: flex
One or more persons who have been paid to intimidate someone else (typically into doing something that will benefit the hired muscle's "boss"). I can't believe Jimmy sent some hired muscle after me—I was always going to pay him back, sheesh! Their so-called hired muscle is just one guy, and I'm bigger than him.
slang A penis. It's my belief that, in general, men care far more about the size of their love muscles than do the women they sleep with.
muscle (one) out (of something or some place)
1. To compel one to leave some place or thing through the use of physical force. The bouncer muscled the young man out of the club. When we were kids, my older brother was constantly muscling me out of his tree house. Hey, I want to see, too! Quit muscling me out!
2. By extension, to use one's power, influence, or money to force, pressure, or coerce one to leave some position, place, or thing. I hate the way these huge conglomerates come in and muscle local businesses out of town. The rest of the board members banded together to muscle the CEO out. After the military muscled the prime minister out of office, it set up a dictatorship in the small country.
A high-performance automobile with a large, powerful engine designed for quick acceleration and high straight-line speed. A: "I can't believe that Grandpa had a muscle car when he was in his 20s!" B: "Oh, he sure did. He liked to hit the road and go fast." You could do some serious street racing with a muscle car like that.
To forcefully encroach upon or interfere with (someone or something). In this town, any business that begins to see a profit will have the mafia muscling in before long. Jake must think I'm trying to muscle in, judging by the way he's been disparaging me to the boss lately.
muscle in on (someone or something)
To use pressure or aggression to advance on someone or something in order to exert control or derive some benefit, usually when doing so is unwelcome. I'm not surprised that Jake undermined me to the boss—he's been trying to muscle in on my job.
1. To become more muscular; to increase the size and strength of one's muscles. The coach said I would need to seriously muscle up during the off season if I wanted to make varsity next year. There's really no point muscling up if you aren't building up your aerobic fitness as well.
2. To cause an animal to have larger, stronger muscles. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "muscle" and "up." The breeder suggested a diet I could try to help muscle up the young colt. He wanted to muscle the guard dogs up so they would be more intimidating.
3. To lift someone or something up (something or some place) using only brute physical strength. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "muscle" and "up." You're going to seriously hurt yourself if you try to just muscle the furniture up the stairs like that. The man had been knocked unconscious, so the firefighter had to muscle him up onto her shoulders and carry him out of the building.
4. To control, dominate, or push around someone with great physical strength. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "muscle" and "up." They have a lot of big guys on the team, so they're going to try to muscle us up for the whole match. The bouncer started muscling me up after I tried to push my way through the club.
5. Of a country, to increase the size or presence of one's military forces. There have been concerns that their neighbors to the south have begun muscling up in anticipation of a global conflict. His security advisor suggested they muscle up north to prevent any further outbreaks of violence.
slang A large, muscular, oafish, typically unintelligent or foolish person, especially a man. Sometimes used endearingly or in self-deprecation. Some musclehead at the bar has been hitting on Jenny for the last 20 minutes—I'm going to go help her get out of there. A musclehead like me would never have a chance of getting into Yale! A football camp? No thank you—spending a week with two-dozen muscleheads does not sound like a fun time.
slang Oafish, clumsy, or inept. I can't believe I made such a muscleheaded mistake—I need to be more careful when I work! I don't want you or your muscleheaded friends anywhere near my party, got it?
1. A strong man with large, well-defined muscles, especially as a result of training with weights at a gym. We need a muscleman like you to help us move this furniture out of the house next weekend! There are always these musclemen who strut around the board walk with their shirts off, like they're going to impress someone or something.
2. A large, strong man hired for his strength to act as a bodyguard or to threaten or attack others with physical violence; a goon. The boss sent a couple of musclemen around to force Constantine to sign the contract. You'll have to fight your way through those musclemen if you want to talk to the guy who runs this place.
not move a muscle
1. To not move at all; to stay completely still. When I looked down and saw the snake, I didn't move a muscle until it slithered past me. Sit still until I come back, do you hear me? Don't move a muscle!
2. To not do anything, especially in a situation when one should help. You didn't even move a muscle when I came in with the groceries. A little help next time. The kids have been glued to the TV all day not moving a muscle.
pull a muscle
To overextend or strain a muscle, resulting in its injury. I think I pulled a muscle when I was pushing the car to the mechanics. Make sure you stretch and warm up before you start your run—you don't want to pull a muscle.
strain every nerve and muscle
1. To use every bit of one's physical effort or ability. We all worked together, straining ever nerve and muscle to push the truck out of the ditch. He strained every nerve and muscle trying to lift the sack of concrete up off the ground.
2. To use absolutely all of one's energy, willpower, or resolution. I felt like I had to strain every nerve and muscle to not clock him for making such an insensitive remark. He strained every nerve and muscle trying to catch the vase before it hit the ground.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
muscle in (on someone or something)
to try forcefully to displace someone or take over someone's property, interests, or relationships. Are you trying to muscle in on my scheme? If you try to muscle in, you'll be facing big trouble.
muscle someone out of somethingand muscle someone out
to force someone out of something; to push someone out of something. (Can be physical or by coercion.) Are you trying to muscle me out of my job? The younger people are muscling out the older ones.
not move a muscle
to remain perfectly motionless. Be quiet. Sit there and don't move a muscle. I was so tired I couldn't move a muscle.
pull a muscle
to strain a muscle and suffer the attendant pain. I pulled a muscle in my back and can't play golf today.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
flex one's muscles
Show off one's strength or power, as in The boys love flexing their muscles, or The new department head has decided to flex her muscles. [Early 1900s]
move a muscle
Bestir oneself even slightly. This idiom is usually put negatively, either with implied criticism, as in She won't move a muscle to help get dinner, or not, as in When I saw the deer, I stayed quite still, not daring to move a muscle. It was first recorded in 1889.
Also, muscle in on. Forcibly intrude on or interfere with something, as in The children were determined not to allow the school bully to muscle in, or No more muscling in on our policy decisions! [Colloquial; 1920s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
flex your musclesor
flex your muscle
COMMON If people or organizations flex their muscles or flex their muscle, they behave in a way that is intended to show that they have power and are considering using it. A pro-democracy movement is starting to flex its muscles. The miners' actions last year seem to have encouraged workers in the oil industry to flex their industrial muscle.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
flex your musclesgive a show of strength or power.
1998 Times Mr Prescott is flexing his muscles and the City is wondering just how far he is prepared to go.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
flex your ˈmusclesshow that you are ready and prepared to use your power, abilities, etc: He’s flexing his muscles, waiting for the day he becomes president.
Athletes flex (= stretch and tighten) their muscles before a race, a fight, a game, etc.
not move a ˈmuscle(of a person) stay very still, without moving: The patient didn’t move a muscle for weeks.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
n. a stupid man; a man who has muscle where there should be brains. (Also a rude term of address.) Look, musclehead, do exactly what I tell you!
1. n. a strong bully; a goon. (Underworld.) Mooshoo is a muscleman for the kingpin of a local drug ring.
2. n. a man who builds muscles through bodybuilding exercises. That muscleman doesn’t have a single ounce of fat on him.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
flex (one's) musclesInformal
To exhibit or show off one's strength.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.