Definition of muzzle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmʌz(ə)l/


1The projecting part of the face, including the nose and mouth, of an animal such as a dog or horse: she patted the horse’s velvety muzzle
More example sentences
  • She handed treats over the fence to five horses and caressed their muzzles, then turned to wave to journalists before heading inside again.
  • I nodded and outstretched my hand, petting the muzzle of the horse, letting it get used to me before I swung myself up on its bare back.
  • The horse shoved his muzzle malevolently against the spaniel's face, eyeball to eyeball.
snout, nose, mouth, jaws, maw
1.1A guard, typically made of straps or wire, fitted over an animal’s muzzle to stop it biting or feeding: the law says that pit bull terriers have to wear a muzzle
More example sentences
  • In photographs designed to raise gamblers' adrenaline levels, the dogs tear around a race track after a fake rabbit, the whites of their eyes glinting and their jaws straining against their wire muzzles.
  • And so now I find myself explaining to anyone who I see while out walking that my dogs are not dangerous and then I have to explain why they wear the muzzles.
  • Pittbulls are meant to be wearing muzzles at all times.
gag, restraint
1.2 informal The part of a person’s face including the nose, mouth, and chin: his close-shaven muzzle
More example sentences
  • He looks in the mirror with shock as his muzzle hangs wide open like someone who just discovered what they look like for the first time.
  • Ellen tried unsuccessfully to stop the snort that escaped her muzzle.
  • Chris and Sabrina sat there with their muzzles hanging open.
2The open end of the barrel of a firearm: Devlin jammed the muzzle of the gun into the man’s neck
More example sentences
  • Never point the muzzle of your firearm at yourself or anyone else, even if it is unloaded.
  • By the late 17th century devices were being developed to fire grenades from the muzzles of flintlock muskets.
  • Make it a habit to know where your muzzle is pointed at all times, even when your firearm is unloaded.


[with object]
1Put a muzzle on (an animal): the dog should have been muzzled
More example sentences
  • ‘She should have muzzled her dog,’ Mr Millard said.
  • In fact, no animals were harmed during filming - the director ensured that the dogs were muzzled.
  • But fortunately, Peter gets hold of a rope and uses it as a noose with which to muzzle the wolf and take him into captivity.
1.1Prevent (a person or group) from expressing their opinions freely: opposition leaders accused him of muzzling the news media
More example sentences
  • Unfortunately, in the last few years a rash of cases, statutes, and rules has made it easier for adversaries of the poor to silence them by muzzling their lawyers.
  • It seems like blatant sheltering and effectively muzzles the people expressing their views.
  • The effect was to muzzle the one person at that time trying to sound an alarm.
gag, silence, censor, suppress, stifle, inhibit, restrain, check, curb, fetter


Late Middle English: from Old French musel, diminutive of medieval Latin musum, of unknown ultimate origin.

  • muse from Middle English:

    People who muse look thoughtful and reflective, and the word probably originally referred to facial expression, as it is related to muzzle (Late Middle English) ( see also amuse). It has no connection with the Muses of classical mythology, the nine goddesses regarded as inspiring learning and the arts. The Greek word for a Muse, mousa, is also the source of music (Middle English) and museum (early 17th century). An institute called the Museum was established at Alexandria in about 280 bc by Ptolemy I of Egypt, and became the most renowned of the museums in the ancient world. The word museum means ‘seat of the Muses, place dedicated to the Muses’. Old astronomers imagined the universe to consist of transparent hollow globes that revolved round the earth carrying the heavenly bodies and making a harmonious sound known as the music of the spheres. Many other things have been regarded as making music, such as birds, running brooks, and packs of hounds—since the 1930s a man and woman making love have been said to make beautiful music together.

Words that rhyme with muzzle

guzzle, nuzzle, puzzle

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: muz¦zle

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