Definition of muck in English:

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Pronunciation: /mʌk/


[mass noun]
1Dirt, rubbish, or waste matter: I’ll just clean the muck off the windscreen
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, sludge, scum, mire, mess, rubbish
informal crud, gunk, grunge, gloop, gook, goo, yuck
British informal gunge, grot
North American informal guck, glop
1.1Farmyard manure, widely used as fertilizer: he was covered in cow muck and mud
More 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, faeces, cowpats, guano, sewage
North American informal cow chips, horse apples
vulgar slang shit, crap
rare feculence
1.2 informal Something regarded as distasteful, unpleasant, or of poor quality: why do you let her read this muck?
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 something out) chiefly British Remove manure and other dirt from a horse’s stable or other animal’s dwelling: I was mucking out some of the dirtiest piggeries I had ever seen
More 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.
2 dialect Spread manure on (land): half the farm is mucked every year
More 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

British informal Handle (something) incompetently: the taxi driver made a muck of it and took me to the wrong place
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.’

where there's muck there's brass

British proverb Dirty or unpleasant activities are also lucrative.
Example sentences
  • ‘You have to roll your sleeves up and say ‘where there's muck there's brass’.’
  • The old phrase ‘where there's muck there's brass’ rings true for a pioneering Bradford firm after profits increased by more than a third.
  • Oscar Brogden has proved that where there's muck there's brass by salvaging 1,000 bicycles from Manchester's bins.

Phrasal verbs


muck about/around

British informal Behave in a silly or aimless way: we just muck around in training and have a laugh
More example sentences
  • ‘It ranges from youngsters mucking around a causing a bit of discomfort to local residents, to really serious misconduct and loutish behaviour right through to serious criminal behaviour,’ he said.
  • In a written statement, Ms Shepherd said: ‘There was a thud, and I thought he was mucking around.’
  • It's happened since the children have gone back to school, so it must be kids mucking around.
fool about/around, play about/around, fiddle about/around, amuse oneself, clown about/around, footle about/around
informal mess about/around, horse about/around, lark (about/around), screw around, puddle about/around
British informal fanny about/around
vulgar slang frig about/around, fuck about/around
British vulgar slang piss about/around, arse about/around, bugger about/around

muck about/around with

Tinker with (something), typically so as to damage or spoil it: have you been mucking about with the aerial?
More example sentences
  • Youths should realise they are putting their lives and those of other people at risk when they muck around with what are without doubt dangerous items.
  • In this exhibition, it's an installation which you're invited to muck around with: go there, add your own content to the magazine, move it all around and turn material over.
  • I just want something cool to muck about with in my spare time.
interfere, fiddle (about/around), play about/around, tamper, meddle, tinker, monkey (about/around)
informal mess (about/around), dick around

muck someone about/around

Treat someone inconsiderately, typically by disrupting their plans: what the management has to learn is that we can’t be mucked about
More example sentences
  • Then someone did ring from Staples, apologised for mucking me around, all to do with a new warehouse, blah blah.
  • I didn't actually see the draw but my mum rang me and I thought she was mucking me about.
  • The real issue going on at Casino Avenue Towers is my washing machine. It's mucking me about again, refusing to complete its cycles.

muck in

British informal Share tasks or accommodation without expecting a privileged position: she really enjoys mucking in with the lads
More example sentences
  • Beer, spare parts and tales of the day's adventures are enthusiastically shared while everybody mucks in with repairs.
  • Catches of fish were shared, friends mucked in to build neighbours' homes, sods were replaced after peat-cutting and even the soot-covered inner thatch was recycled as fertiliser.
  • Everyone is expected to muck in with the camp chores: pitching tents, collecting firewood, cooking the meals and shopping in local markets.
help out, help, assist, lend a hand, join in, pitch in, participate, play a part, contribute, do one's bit, chip in, cooperate, collaborate, put one's shoulder to the wheel
British informal get stuck in

muck up

Australian /NZ informal Behave badly; mess around: boys are more likely to muck up at what they see as poor teaching
More example sentences
  • With the boss away, he steps up to umpire the hour when the kids muck up for the cameras.
  • There've been numerous other similar incidents this year of footballers mucking up in public.
  • What does a court do where one of the parents deliberately mucks up?

muck something up

informal Do something badly or ineptly; mishandle 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.
make a mess of, mess up, botch, bungle, spoil, ruin, wreck, mishandle, mismanage
informal make a hash of, muff, fluff, foul up, screw up, louse up, bitch up, blow, foozle
British informal make a muck of, make a pig's ear of, cock up, make a Horlicks of
North American informal flub, goof up
vulgar slang fuck up, bugger up, balls up


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

Line breaks: muck

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