Etymology
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musk (n.)

odoriferous reddish-brown substance secreted by the male musk deer (dried and used in medicinal preparations and as a perfume), late 14c., from Old French musc (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin muscus, from Late Greek moskhos, from Persian mushk, from Sanskrit muska-s "testicle," from mus "mouse" (so called, presumably, for resemblance; see muscle). The deer gland was thought to resemble a scrotum. German has Moschus, from a Medieval Latin form of the Late Greek word. Spanish has almizcle, from Arabic al misk "the musk," from Persian.

The musk-deer, the small ruminant of central Asia that produces the substance, is so called from 1680s. The name musk was applied to various plants and animals of similar smell, such as the Arctic musk-ox (1744). Musk-melon "the common melon" (1570s) probably originally was an oriental melon with a musky smell, the name transferred by error [OED]. Also compare Muscovy.

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musky (adj.)

"having the characteristic odor of musk," c. 1600, from musk + -y (2). Related: Muskiness.

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muscat (n.)

type of strong and more or less sweet wine, 1570s, from French, from Italian moscato, literally "musky-flavored," from Vulgar Latin *muscatus, from Latin muscus "musk" (see musk). Earlier muscadine (1540s) and compare muscatel.

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Muscovy 

former principality in central Russia that formed the nucleus of the modern Russian nation; from French Moscovie, from Modern Latin Moscovia, old name of Russia, from Russian Moskova "(Principality of) Moscow." In Muscovy duck (1650s), the tropical American bird, and certain other uses it is a corruption of musk. Related: Muscovite; Muscovian.

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muskrat (n.)

also musk-rat, "large aquatic rodent of North America," 1610s, alteration (by association with musk and rat) of an Algonquian word (probably Powhatan), muscascus, literally "it is red," so called for its coloring. From cognate Abenaki moskwas comes variant form musquash (1620s). Dialectal mushrat is by 1890.

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muscatel (n.)

"strong, sweet wine made from muscat grapes," 1530s, variant of muskadell (c. 1400), from Medieval Latin muscatellum, diminutive of muscat "(grape) with the fragrance of musk" (see muscat).

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musty (adj.)

1520s, "moldy, sour," perhaps a variant of moisty "moist, damp" (see moist), but musty, of bread, "containing must" is attested mid-15c., and from 15c.-19c. must also was a variant of musk. Related: Mustiness.

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musket (n.)

"firearm for infantry" (later replaced by the rifle), 1580s, from 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 (compare dragoon, also falcon, a kind of cannon mentioned by Hakluyt), and the equivalent word in Italian was used to mean "an arrow for a crossbow." Wedgwood also compares culverin, a simple early sort of firearm, from French couleuvrine, from couleuvre "grass snake."

French mousquette had been borrowed earlier into Middle English (late 14c.; c. 1200 as a surname) in its literal sense of "sparrow-hawk."

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muskeg (n.)

kind of North American bog, 1865, from Cree (Algonquian) /maske:k/ "swamp;" compare Abenaki mskag, Munsee Delaware maskeekw, and Ojibwa mshkiig, which probably is an element in the place names Muskego (Wisconsin) and Muskegon (Michigan).

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musky (n.)

American English, short for muskrat (1884) or muskellunge (1889). Also muskie.

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