late 14c., fibre "a lobe of the liver," also "entrails," from Medieval Latin fibre, from Latin fibra "a fiber, filament; entrails," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Latin filum "a thread, string" (from PIE root *gwhi- "thread, tendon") or to Latin findere "to split" (from PIE root *bheid- "to split").
Meaning "thread-like structure in animal bodies" is from c. 1600 (in plants, 1660s); hence figurative use in reference to force or toughness (1630s). As "textile material," 1827. Fiberboard is from 1897; Fiberglas is attested from 1937, U.S. registered trademark name; in generic use, with lower-case f- and double -s, by 1941. Fiber optics is from 1956.
1913, "to accomplish by strength," from muscle (n.). Meaning "coerce by violence or pressure" is by 1929 in U.S. underworld slang. Related: Muscled; muscling.
"contractible animal tissue consisting of bundles of fibers," late 14c., "a muscle of the body," from Latin musculus "a muscle," literally "a little mouse," diminutive of mus "mouse" (see mouse (n.)).
So called because the shape and movement of some muscles (notably biceps) were thought to resemble mice. The analogy was made in Greek, too, where mys is both "mouse" and "muscle," and its combining form gives the medical prefix myo-. Compare also Old Church Slavonic mysi "mouse," mysica "arm;" German Maus "mouse; muscle," Arabic 'adalah "muscle," 'adal "field mouse;" Cornish logodenfer "calf of the leg," literally "mouse of the leg." In Middle English, lacerte, from the Latin word for "lizard," also was used as a word for a muscle.
Musclez & lacertez bene one selfe þing, Bot þe muscle is said to þe fourme of mouse & lacert to þe fourme of a lizard. [Guy de Chauliac, "Grande Chirurgie," c. 1425]
Hence muscular and mousy are relatives, and a Middle English word for "muscular" was lacertous, "lizardy." Figurative sense of "muscle, strength, brawn" is by 1850; that of "force, violence, threat of violence" is 1930, American English. Muscle car "hot rod" is from 1969.
before vowels my-, word-forming element meaning "muscle," from combining form of Greek mys "muscle," literally "mouse" (see muscle (n.)).
"consisting of, or having the characteristics of, fibers," 1620s, from Modern Latin fibrosus, from Latin fibra "a fiber, filament" (see fiber).