auxiliary of prediction, "be obliged, be necessarily impelled," from Old English moste, past tense of motan "have to, be able to," from Proto-Germanic *motanan (source also of Old Saxon motan "to be obliged to, have to," Old Frisian mota, Middle Low German moten, Dutch moeten, German müssen "to be obliged to," Gothic gamotan "to have room to, to be able to"), perhaps from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures," but this old suggestion lately has been doubted. Used as present tense from c. 1300, eventually displacing motan, from the custom of using past subjunctive as a moderate or polite form of the present.
"male elephant frenzy," 1878, from earlier adjective (1855), from Urdu mast "intoxicated, in rut," from Persian mast, literally "intoxicated," related to Sanskrit matta- "drunk, intoxicated," past participle of madati "boils, bubbles, gets drunk," from PIE root *mad- "wet, moist" (see mast (n.2)).
"that which has to be done, seen, or experienced," 1892, from must (v.). As an adjective, "obligatory, indispensable," by 1912, from the noun; must-read (n.) is from 1959.
late 14c., "slightly wet; well-irrigated, characterized by moistness," from Old French moiste "damp, wet, soaked" (13c., Modern French moite), which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Vulgar Latin *muscidus "moldy," also "wet," from Latin mucidus "slimy, moldy, musty," from mucus "slime" (see mucus). Alternative etymology [Diez] is from Latin musteus "fresh, green, new," literally "like new wine," from musteum "new wine" (see must (n.1)). If this wasn't the source, it influenced the form of the other word in Old French. Related: Moistly; moistness (mid-14c.).
late 13c. (late 12c. as a surname), "seed of the mustard plant crushed and used as a condiment paste or for medicinal purposes," from Old French mostarde "mustard; mustard plant" (Modern French moutarde), from moust "must," from Latin mustum "new wine" (see must (n.1)); so called because it was originally prepared by adding must to the ground seeds of the plant to make a paste. As the name of the plant itself, by mid-14c. in English. As a color name, it is attested from 1848.
Mustard-pot is attested from early 15c. Mustard gas, World War I poison (first used by the Germans at Ypres, 1917), so called for its color and smell and burning effect on eyes and lungs; chemical name is dichlordiethyl sulfide; it contains no mustard and is an atomized liquid, not a gas. To cut the mustard (1907, usually in negative) is probably from slang mustard "genuine article, best thing" (1903) on notion of "that which enhances flavor."
I'm not headlined in the bills, but I'm the mustard in the salad dressing just the same. [O. Henry, "Cabbages and Kings," 1904]
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.