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Related to muscles: muscle building, muscular system

beer muscles

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.
See also: beer, muscle

love muscle

slang A man's 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.
See also: love, muscle

hired muscle

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.
See also: hire, muscle

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

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.
See also: move, muscle, not

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.
See also: muscle, on

muscle in

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.
See also: muscle

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.
See also: muscle, out, something


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.

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.
See also: muscle, pull

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.
See also: muscle

muscle someone out of something

 and 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.
See also: muscle, of, out

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.
See also: move, muscle, not

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.
See also: muscle, pull

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]
See also: flex, muscle

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.
See also: move, muscle

muscle in

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]
See also: muscle

flex your muscles


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.
See also: flex, muscle

flex your muscles

give 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.
See also: flex, muscle

flex your ˈmuscles

show 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.
See also: flex, muscle

not move a ˈmuscle

(of a person) stay very still, without moving: The patient didn’t move a muscle for weeks.
See also: move, muscle, not


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.

flex (one's) muscles

To exhibit or show off one's strength.
See also: flex, muscle
References in classic literature ?
Knots and ridges and mounds of muscles writhed and bunched under the skin.
And I observed, also, that his whole body had unconsciously drawn itself together, tense and alert; that muscles were softly crawling and shaping about the hips, along the back, and across the shoulders; that the arms were slightly lifted, their muscles contracting, the fingers crooking till the hands were like talons; and that even the eyes had changed expression and into them were coming watchfulness and measurement and a light none other than of battle.
And as I watched him I felt in my own being, in my very muscles themselves, the surge and thrill of desire to go leaping from bough to bough; and I felt also the guarantee of the latent power in that being and in those muscles of mine.
At the first glance his eyes narrowed and his muscles tensed.
The ape-man had a keen admiration for a well-muscled, well-proportioned body, whether lion, or antelope, or man, and it had ever been beyond him to understand how clothes could be considered more beautiful than a clear, firm, healthy skin, or coat and trousers more graceful than the gentle curves of rounded muscles playing beneath a flexible hide.
Let them relax their watchfulness but for an instant, he knew that his cunning mind and giant muscles would find a way to escape--escape and revenge.
You didn't get all that muscle from bein' chased by McManus," Billy observed over the coffee.
The Virgin, who had tensed unconsciously till her muscles hurt her, relaxed.
Each hair was about the bigness of a large angleworm, and as the thing moved the muscles of its scalp this awful head-covering seemed to writhe and wriggle and crawl about the fearsome face as though indeed each separate hair was endowed with independent life.
As though it had been but a brittle shell, to break at the least rough usage, the thin veneer of his civilization fell from him, and the ten burly villains found themselves penned in a small room with a wild and savage beast, against whose steel muscles their puny strength was less than futile.
It was a formidable weapon when backed by the Herculean muscles that rolled and shifted beneath Bulan's sun-tanned skin, and many were the brown warriors that went down beneath its cruel lash.
Every bit of flesh an' blood an' muscle is clean right down to the bones--and they're clean, too.
He saw only a naked man-thing, hairless and futile, pitting his puny fangs and soft muscles against his own indomitable savagery, and he charged.
At last Clayton saw the immense muscles of Tarzan's shoulders and biceps leap into corded knots beneath the silver moonlight.
Sadly, I know I am shorn of my strength, And no muscle I move As I lie at full length -- But no matter