from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The sterile hybrid offspring of a male donkey and a female horse, characterized by long ears and a short mane.
  • n. A sterile hybrid, as between a canary and other birds or between certain plants.
  • n. Informal A stubborn person.
  • n. A spinning machine that makes thread or yarn from fibers. Also called spinning mule.
  • n. A small, usually electric tractor or locomotive used for hauling over short distances.
  • n. Slang A person who serves as a courier of illegal drugs.
  • n. A slipper or shoe that has no counter or strap to fit around the heel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A generally sterile male or female hybrid offspring of a male donkey and a female horse.
  • n. A generally sterile hybrid offspring of any two species of animals.
  • n. A stubborn person.
  • n. A person paid to smuggle drugs.
  • n. A coin or medal minted with obverse and reverse designs not normally seen on the same piece, either intentionally or in error.
  • n. A character on an MMORPG used mainly to store extra inventory of the owner's primary character.
  • n. A shoe that has no fitting or strap around the heel, but which covers the foot.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A hybrid animal; specifically, one generated between an ass and a mare. Sometimes the term is applied to the offspring of a horse and a she-ass, but that hybrid is more properly termed a hinny. See hinny.
  • n. A plant or vegetable produced by impregnating the pistil of one species with the pollen or fecundating dust of another; -- called also hybrid.
  • n. A very stubborn person.
  • n. A machine, used in factories, for spinning cotton, wool, etc., into yarn or thread and winding it into cops; -- called also jenny and mule-jenny.
  • n. A slipper that has no fitting around the heel.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A hybrid animal generated between the ass and the horse.
  • n. A hybrid in general; a mongrel; a cross between different animals.
  • n. The scaup-duck, Fuligula marila. Rev. C. Swainson. [Prov. Eng.]
  • n. In botany, a plant or vegetable produced by impregnating the pistil of one species with the fecundating element of another; a hybrid.
  • n. In spinning, a machine invented by Samuel Crompton (completed 1779), in which the rovings are delivered from a series of sets of drawing-rollers to spindles placed on a carriage which travels away from the rollers while the thread is being twisted, and returns toward the rollers while the thread is being wound: so named because it was a combination of the drawing-rollers of Arkwright and the jenny of Hargreaves.
  • n. In numismatics, a coin, token, or medal which, owing to mistake or caprice, consists of two obverse or two reverse types, or of which the obverse and reverse types are accidentally associated.
  • n. A slipper without heel-piece or quarter.
  • n. The foot of a wine-glass.
  • n. A disease in horses.
  • n. In mech., a locomotive for towing canal-boats, operated by compressed air, electricity, or steam: so called because it replaces the mules usually used for towing.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a slipper that has no fitting around the heel
  • n. hybrid offspring of a male donkey and a female horse; usually sterile


Middle English, from Old French mul and from Old English mūl, both from Latin mūlus.
Probably French, slipper, possibly from Middle Dutch muil, ultimately from Latin mulleus (calceus), reddish-purple (ceremonial shoe).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English (reinforced by Anglo-Norman mul (masculine), mule (feminine)), from Old English mūl, all from Latin mūlus, from Proto-Indo-European *mukslós (cf. Late Latin muscellus 'young he-mule', Old Russian mŭškŭ 'mule', Ancient Greek (Phocian) mychlós 'he-ass'). (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A kind of boat. See citation from Dracula on cobble.

    March 3, 2011

  • they would harness their mule teams in the early mornings in my grandfather's big barn and come to the woods-rimmed tobacco patches, the mules' feet wet with the dew. Wendell Berry "A Native Hill"

    July 19, 2008

  • Nor with mulberry.

    April 23, 2008

  • Also has nothing to do with muliebrity.

    April 23, 2008

  • Has nothing to do with mulesing.

    April 23, 2008

  • In coinmaking, a coin struck from two dies not intended to be used together.

    April 23, 2008