From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishmusclemus‧cle1 /ˈmʌsəl/ ●●● S2 W3 noun 1 [countable, uncountable]HB one of the pieces of flesh inside your body that you use in order to move, and that connect your bones together Relax your stomach muscles, then stretch again. Regular exercise will help to strengthen your muscles. Rooney has pulled a muscle in his thigh and won’t play tomorrow.2 → not move a muscle3 [uncountable]POWER power or influencemilitary/economic/political etc muscle The unions have a lot of political muscle. The agreement will give the UN some muscle to enforce human rights.4 [uncountable]STRONG PERSONWORK HARD physical strength and power It took muscle to work in an old-fashioned kitchen.put some muscle into it (=used to tell someone to work harder) → flex your muscles at flex1(2)COLLOCATIONSadjectivesbig musclesHe's developed big arm muscles.hard muscles (=strong, firm muscles)the hard muscles of his back and shouldersarm/leg/stomach etc musclesHer leg muscles ached after the run.rippling muscles (=muscles that move in a strong attractive way)The sight of his rippling muscles sends women wild.verbsuse your musclesBend your knees and use your thigh muscles when picking up heavy objects.strengthen/build up your muscles (=make them stronger)If you strengthen the muscles in your back you are less likely to have back problems.pull/strain a muscle (=injure it)He pulled a muscle in his calf.stretch your musclesIt’s a good idea to stretch your muscles after weight lifting.flex your muscles (=bend your arm muscles so that people can see how strong you are)He was lifting weights and flexing his muscles.relax your muscles (=make them feel less tight)A hot bath will help relax sore muscles.tense/tighten your muscles (=make them more tight)He tensed his stomach muscles, ready for the blow.your muscles contract (=tighten so that you can move a part of your body)These nerves tell the muscles when to contract.your muscles ache (=hurt after being exercised too much)I ran until my muscles ached.muscle + NOUNmuscle strength/powerThis exercise will help increase muscle strength.muscle tone (=the firmness of your muscles)Swimming is good exercise for improving muscle tone.a muscle spasm (=when your muscles tighten suddenly)The drug helps control painful muscle spasms.muscle tissue (=the substance that muscles are made from)If you lose weight too quickly you will lose muscle tissue as well as fat.
Examples from the Corpusmuscle• The group strengthened like a muscle.• The joint and muscle were all right.• Panetta used his muscle to keep the budget agreement intact.• U.S. military muscle• They had to cut out seven inches of muscle in my legs.• There may also be numbness or muscle weakness occurring in a segmental pattern.• The Republicans do not have the political muscle to prevent the treaty being rejected by Congress.• The government has for years been trying to destroy the muscle of the trade unions.• Hanson Trust has the muscle to buy up some of America's biggest companies.• His body tightened, the muscles drawing in on themselves.• This exercise works the muscles of your leg.• Now, leg stretched and r-o-l-l back those muscles.• The trapezius muscle group is kite-shaped and basically pulls the head and the shoulders back.• Low vitamin D also is associated with muscle weakness, which could contribute to a fall.stomach muscles• Using his arms and stomach muscles, trying to keep his chest still, he sat.• A day later, the tissue was inserted between stomach muscles, just above the bellybutton, where blood supply is plentiful.• Byrd had his arm broken, Noville had his stomach muscles torn.• For instance, stomach muscles propel the motion on forward and backward rolls.• My stomach muscles were up to it, but I didn't want to lose any more teeth.• Northern's biggest setback came with the loss of midfield maestro Deryck Fox with pulled stomach muscles.• The children are given practice in tensing and relaxing major muscle groups of their body, starting with the stomach muscles.military/economic/political etc muscle• He began to flex his political muscles.• But they will just as surely have died because they were too weak in political muscle to be able to fight back.• At least in Baja California, real estate should remain a prime factor in building new economic muscle.• And it says something about the amount of political muscle the Chamber has, too.• Second, when they are raised, they are resolved according to the simple criterion of political muscle power.• But by this time the North had begun to flex its superior economic muscles.• Big operators have the political muscle to win development permits.took muscle• Fire took muscle, bone, and brains.