a. A greasy secretion with a powerful odor, produced in a glandular sac in the abdomen of a male musk deer and used in traditional medicines and formerly in the manufacture of perfumes.
b. A similar secretion produced by certain other animals, such as an otter or civet.
c. A synthetic chemical resembling natural musk in odor or use.
a. The odor of musk.
b. An odor similar to musk.
[Middle English, from Old French musc, from Late Latin muscus, from Greek moskhos, from Persian mušk, probably from Sanskrit muṣkaḥ, testicle; see mūs- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.