Definition of muck in English:

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Pronunciation: /mək/


1Dirt, rubbish, or waste matter: I’ll just clean the muck off the windshield
More example sentences
  • I have lived like we did in the jungles, in dirt and filth and muck, unwashed and unkempt.
  • Apart from the litter have you also noticed the amount of muck and dirt on the roads this winter?
  • The bomb craters were so deep we couldn't walk down into them, so we struggled around their rims like ants, fighting for a purchase in dirt, muck and shattered roots.
dirt, grime, filth, mud, slime, mess
informal crud, gunk, grunge, gunge, guck, glop
1.1Farmyard manure, widely used as fertilizer.
Example sentences
  • One of Britain's top trainers, Tim Easterby, who has 120 horses at Great Habton, Malton, uses the pure muck as a fertiliser on his own fields.
  • I assume the ‘very’ brown boots refers to farmyard muck?
  • ‘As I started to turn round a guy tipped a bucket of farmyard muck over me and then threw the rest of it over me and the car,’ he said.
dung, manure, ordure, excrement, excreta, droppings, feces, sewage, sludge, biosolids
informal cow chips, horse apples
1.2 informal Something regarded as worthless, sordid, or corrupt: the muck that passes for music in the pop charts
More example sentences
  • First we read the menu: there's nowt but foreign muck,
  • He seems to have a genuine hatred for and problem with the muck so many kids get raised on, and recognises that this may be the only hot meal they get that day.
  • This news has almost forced me to once again swim into the muck of Democratic Underground, which I have not read in almost two weeks.


[with object]
1 (muck up) informal Mishandle (a job or situation); spoil (something): she had mucked up her first few weeks at college
More example sentences
  • I guess we have to wait for the mainstream media to muck things up this badly.
  • I get scared that I shall muck something up badly, so I tend not to volunteer for things.
  • One of the hardest things we ever have to learn is that you can't lead other people's lives for them, however intent they seem on mucking them up.
2 (muck out) chiefly British Remove (manure and other dirt) from a horse’s stable or other animal’s dwelling.
Example sentences
  • He'd asked me to muck a few horses out and I decided to take a radio down to keep myself entertained.
  • Straw bedding is fine as long as it is mucked out daily, removing all wet material and keeping the bedding as clean as possible at all times.
  • When I go home to my parents in Pennsylvania, people are amazed to see me in the barn, all filthy, mucking stalls out in wellies.
3 rare Spread manure on (land).
Example sentences
  • Help muck the fields and move hay.
  • With the horses we mucked the fields and then went out in the morning to feed everyone.



as common as muck

British informal Of low social status.
Example sentences
  • He's as common as muck, and God help him if he has to perform state duties - he can't stand foreigners.
  • You know, Ramirez, sometimes you seem as common as muck, and other times you're the most princely person I've met.
  • She is posing as a lady but she is really as common as muck.

make a muck of

informal, chiefly British Handle incompetently: it’s useless now that they’ve made a muck of it
More example sentences
  • Of course, if her side win today, Nilsmark will be remembered as the great master tactician, but if Europe slips to defeat, she could be accused of making a muck of her choices.
  • If Finnie makes a muck of it - as I'm sure he will - I wonder if Jack would look in my direction.
  • ‘No, she's just made a muck of things, that's all.’

Phrasal verbs

muck about/around

informal, chiefly British Behave in a silly or aimless way, especially by wasting time when serious activity is expected: he spent his summers mucking about in boats
More example sentences
  • Plenty of people enjoy mucking about in boats, but just as many appreciate a power shower and a lie-down in a real bed afterwards.
  • I didn't know what to expect, but they were laughing and mucking about.
  • He does all the serious stuff, which allows me to muck about.
(muck about/around with)1.1 Spoil (something) by interfering with it: they did not want designers mucking about with their newspapers
More example sentences
  • The French, who can't stop mucking about in West Africa, should meddle someplace where they might do a little good.
  • Each has a pretty carefully delineated sphere of interest, and won't take kindly to the other guy mucking about in it.
  • It's much better to remove one's self from the lower orders who muck about in the political mud, splashing it willy-nilly on their betters.


Middle English muk, probably of Scandinavian origin: compare with Old Norse myki 'dung', from a Germanic base meaning 'soft', shared by meek.

  • English muck is from an early Scandinavian word that goes back to a ancient root meaning ‘slippery, slimy’ from which mucus (mid 17th century) also descends. The verb first meant ‘to clean muck from’ and ‘to spread manure’, from which we get muck up or make a mess of and muck around, ‘to behave in a silly or aimless way’. Down-to-earth northerners might often comment that where there's muck there's brass. This form of the proverb, using brass in the sense ‘money’, is recorded in print only from the 1960s, but an earlier version was where there's muck there's money. The Australians introduced Lady Muck and Lord Muck at the beginning of the 20th century as names for a socially pretentious woman or man. The first muckraking was done by poor people, who would collect manure from the filthy streets of the city in the hope of selling it or finding something valuable. Since the start of the 20th century it has been used for searching out and publicizing scandal about people. Mucker or ‘friend’ was originally military slang, first recorded in the 1940s. It probably comes from the idea of a friend being a person who ‘mucks in’ or shares tasks cheerfully.

Words that rhyme with muck

buck, Canuck, chuck, cluck, cruck, duck, luck, pluck, puck, ruck, schmuck, shuck, struck, stuck, suck, truck, tuck, upchuck, yuck

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: muck

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