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muster Syllabification: mus·ter
Pronunciation: /ˈməstər/

Definition of muster in English:


[with object]
1Assemble (troops), especially for inspection or in preparation for battle.
Example sentences
  • There will be no holding back by Strange, then, when he musters his troops in September.
  • It hadn't helped that Bad Boy Bobby was now an outlaw - a fugitive rumoured to be mustering the troops in the fearful Deep North.
  • Italy, like Britain, is mustering its troops for a possible war in Iraq.
assemble, mobilize, rally, raise, summon, gather (together), mass, collect, convene, call up, call to arms, recruit, conscript, draft
archaic levy
1.1 [no object] (Of troops) come together for inspection or preparation: the cavalrymen mustered beside the other regiments
More example sentences
  • Cameron added: ‘It may also have been a gathering place where the troops mustered, or where they waited before going into battle.’
  • By now, the immediate surroundings were quiet, most of the troops had mustered at the south side of camp in preparation to spring the trap that had been laid.
  • Albanian troops muster at the Mother Teresa Airport in Tirana before embarking for Iraq.
1.2 [no object] (Of a group of people) gather together: reporters mustered outside her house
More example sentences
  • On 21 April hundreds of officers mustered ominously outside Gaza Central Prison in defense of their old commanders rather than the new ones.
  • We muster outside the building which is bright enough to be a beacon.
  • Outside, the crew are mustering for the day's shoot.
congregate, assemble, gather together, come together, collect together, convene, mass, rally
2Collect or assemble (a number or amount): he could fail to muster a majority
More example sentences
  • The state's Police Minister simply couldn't muster the numbers.
  • As things stand, a presidential candidate must be able to muster a certain number of supporters.
  • If any other group in Waterford could muster that number of votes, they would be listened to tomorrow morning!
2.1Summon up (a particular feeling, attitude, or response): he replied with as much dignity as he could muster I finally mustered up the courage to call them
More example sentences
  • I am no longer able to muster enthusiasm for supporting an international team playing this way.
  • It's hard enough to muster the confidence to attempt to even talk to an older girl, let alone kiss one.
  • But, that being so, it would be heartening if the rest of the world could muster a serious response to the guy.
summon (up), screw up, call up, rally


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1A formal gathering of troops, especially for inspection, display, or exercise.
Example sentences
  • If one had ‘the common defense of the nation’ in mind when he came to view such musters, it was quickly dispelled as the day turned from muster to picnic to drunken brawl in rather too rapid succession.
  • Obligated militiamen were required to arm and equip themselves, and take part in occasional musters and training sessions.
  • A healthier outlet for these energies was required, and pumping contests became popular events at picnics, holiday parades, county fairs, and militia musters.
roll call, assembly, rally, meeting, gathering, assemblage, congregation, convention;
parade, review
1.1 short for muster roll.
Example sentences
  • That omission has been put right by Mr Pappalardo, who has ploughed through the ships' musters - the individual records of pay to members of all 33 ships' companies are held at Kew.
  • In addition, a muster also registers whether the sailor was either ‘pressed’ or volunteered and whether he was discharged or reserved.
  • Reports on their muster fluctuated between four thousand and eight thousand warriors.


Late Middle English: from Old French moustrer (verb), moustre (noun), from Latin monstrare 'to show'.

  • The word muster has a military swagger to it, conjuring up a picture of troops gathering for inspection or in preparation for battle. In Australia and New Zealand, though, the things most often mustered are cattle, sheep, and other livestock that are scattered and need to be rounded up. The phrase to pass muster, ‘to be accepted as adequate or satisfactory’, was originally to pass the musters and referred to soldiers undergoing inspection without getting into trouble with senior officers. The word itself goes back to Latin monstrare ‘to show’, the source also of demonstrate (mid 16th century) and remonstrate (late 16th century).


pass muster

Be accepted as adequate or satisfactory: a treaty that might pass muster with the voters
More example sentences
  • He knew the treaty would never pass muster with the Senate.
  • Michael's beef olives also passed muster, judging by the satisfied silence from across the table.
  • But, to me, that explanation doesn't even come close to passing muster.
be good enough, come up to standard, come up to scratch, measure up, be acceptable/adequate, fill/fit the bill
informal make the grade, come/be up to snuff

Phrasal verbs

muster someone in (or out)

US Enroll someone into (or discharge someone from) military service.
Example sentences
  • Months later, when he was mustered out of the service, he was wondering what he'd do for a career.
  • Like most of the Continental army, they were mustered out after the war.
  • The 1st Rhode Islanders were 90-day volunteers, so Kady and Robert were mustered out at the end of those three months.

Words that rhyme with muster

adjuster, Augusta, bluster, buster, cluster, Custer, duster, fluster, lustre (US luster), thruster, truster

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