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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
as stubborn as a mule (=very stubborn)
▪ Paul can be as stubborn as a mule.
▪ It was nerve-racking, having him watch her as she slid her feet out of bed, and pushed them into soft mules.
▪ Martha says rats are hanging dressed in the market for sale with mule meat.
▪ On whose side was the young mule supposed to be?
▪ The main road to Piedmont, across the pass of Tenda, was suitable only for mules.
▪ These mule spinners, assisted by women and children, were an elite group in the early textile mills.
▪ They had worked like poor folks' mules.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Mule \Mule\ (m[=u]l), n. [F., a she-mule, L. mula, fem. of mulus; cf. Gr. my`klos, mychlo`s. Cf. AS. m[=u]l, fr. L. mulus. Cf. Mulatto.]

  1. (Zo["o]l.) 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.

    Note: Mules are much used as draught animals. They are hardy, and proverbial for stubbornness.

  2. (Bot.) A plant or vegetable produced by impregnating the pistil of one species with the pollen or fecundating dust of another; -- called also hybrid.

  3. A very stubborn person.

  4. 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.

  5. A slipper that has no fitting around the heel.

    Syn: mules, scuff, scuffs.

    Mule armadillo (Zo["o]l.), a long-eared armadillo (Tatusia hybrida), native of Buenos Ayres; -- called also mulita. See Illust. under Armadillo.

    Mule deer (Zo["o]l.), a large deer ( Cervus macrotis syn. Cariacus macrotis) of the Western United States. The name refers to its long ears.

    Mule pulley (Mach.), an idle pulley for guiding a belt which transmits motion between shafts that are not parallel.

    Mule twist, cotton yarn in cops, as spun on a mule; -- in distinction from yarn spun on a throstle frame.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"offspring of donkey and horse," from Old English mul, Old French mul "mule, hinny" (12c., fem. mule), both from Latin mulus (fem. mula) "a mule," probably from a pre-Latin Mediterranean language.The mule combines the strength of the horse with the endurance and surefootedness of the ass, and is extensively bred for certain employments for which it is more suited than either; it is ordinarily incapable of procreation. With no good grounds, the mule is a proverbial type of obstinacy. [OED]Properly, the offspring of a he-ass and a mare; that of a she-ass and a stallion is technically a hinny. Used allusively of hybrids and things of mixed nature. As a type of spinning machine, attested from 1797 (so called because a hybrid of distinct warp and woof machines). Meaning "obstinate, stupid, or stubborn person" is from 1470s; that of "narcotics smuggler or courier" first attested 1935.


"loose slipper," 1560s, from Middle French mule, from Latin mulleus calceus "red high-soled shoe," worn by Roman patricians, from mullus "red" (see mullet (n.1)). Related: Mules.


Etymology 1 n. 1 A generally sterile male or female hybrid offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. 2 A generally sterile hybrid offspring of any two species of animals. 3 A hybrid plant. 4 (context informal English) A stubborn person. 5 (context slang English) A person paid to smuggle drugs. 6 (context numismatics English) A coin or medal minted with obverse and reverse designs not normally seen on the same piece, either intentionally or in error. 7 (context gaming English) A character on an MMORPG used mainly to store extra inventory of the owner's primary character. Etymology 2

n. A shoe that has no fitting or strap around the heel, but which covers the foot.

  1. n. sterile offspring of a male donkey and a female horse

  2. a slipper that has no fitting around the heel [syn: mules, scuff, scuffs]

Mule (shoe)

Mule, a French word, is a style of shoe that is backless and often closed-toed. Mules can be any heel height - from flat to high. The style is predominantly (but not exclusively) worn by women.

The term derives from the Ancient Roman mulleus calceus a red or purple shoe worn by the three highest magistrates, although there is little indication of any structural resemblance.

Mule (disambiguation)

A mule is the offspring of a female horse and a male donkey.

Mule, Mules, MULE or The Mule can refer to:

Mule (smuggling)

A mule or courier is someone who smuggles contraband across a border (as opposed to sending by mail, etc.) for a smuggling organization. The organizers employ mules to reduce the risk of getting caught themselves. Methods of smuggling include hiding the goods in vehicles or carried items, attaching them to one's body, or using the body as a container.

In the case of transporting illegal drugs, the term drug mule applies. Other slang terms include Kinder Surprise and Easter Egg.

Mule (software)

Mule is a lightweight enterprise service bus (ESB) and integration framework. The platform is Java-based, but can broker interactions between other platforms such as .NET using web services or sockets.

The architecture is a scalable, distributable object broker that can handle interactions across legacy systems, in-house applications, and almost all modern transports and protocols.

Mule (band)

Mule was an American punk blues band from Michigan, active in the early 1990s. Formed from the ashes of Wig and Laughing Hyenas, their music incorporated elements of hardcore punk, blues-rock, and alternative country.


The MULtilingual Enhancement (MULE) is computer software which adds extra written language characters to the GNU Emacs text editor and programming environment.

MULE provides facilities to handle text written in many languages (at least 42 character sets, 53 coding sets, 128 input methods, and 58 languages), and multilingual texts containing several languages in the same buffer. This goes beyond the simple facilities offered by Unicode to represent multilingual text. MULE also supports input methods, composing display using fonts in various encodings, changing character syntax and other editing facilities to correspond to local language usage, and more.

MULE was originally based on Nemacs, a version of Emacs extended to handle Japanese, released in 1987. Development stalled, and the effort to incorporate increased language functionality into the main Emacs version stalled, until the fork between Lucid Inc. and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) led to XEmacs, which for several years boasted considerably better support for multiple languages and character sets. This competition reinvigorated development of GNU Emacs's language handling abilities and prompted the inclusion of MULE in version 21 of GNU Emacs.

MULE was written by the researchers Satoru Tomura, Ken'ichi Handa, Mikiko Nishikimi, and Naoto Takahashi, of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), which is a part of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), of the government of Japan. This made it impossible for the developers to assign copyright to FSF, as is usually done for contributions to GNU packages.

Mule (Foundation)

The Mule is a fictional character from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. One of the greatest conquerors the galaxy has ever seen, he is a mentalic who has the ability to reach into the minds of others and "adjust" their emotions, individually or en masse, using this capability to conscript individuals to his cause. Not direct mind-control per se, it is a subtle influence of the subconscious; individuals under the Mule's influence behave otherwise normally - logic, memories, and personality intact. This gives the Mule the capacity to disrupt Seldon's plan by invalidating Seldon's assumption that no single individual could have a measurable effect on galactic socio-historical trends on their own, due to the plan relying on the predictability of the actions of very large numbers of people.

Mule (coin)

In numismatics, a mule is a coin or medal minted with obverse and reverse designs not normally seen on the same piece. These can be intentional or produced by error. This type of error is highly sought after, and examples can fetch steep prices from collectors.

The earliest mules are found among ancient Greek and Roman coins. Opinion is divided between those who think that they are accidental, the result of an incorrect combination of a new die with one that had officially been withdrawn from use, or the work of coiners working with dies stolen from an official mint, perhaps at a time when one of them should have been destroyed.

The name derives from the mule, the hybrid offspring of a horse and a donkey, due to such a coin having two sides intended for different coins, much as a mule has parents of two different species.

Mule (sheep)

In sheep farming, the term Mule is used to refer to a cross between a lowland ram (usually a Bluefaced Leicester) and a purebred upland (or hill) ewe.

The production of such mule ewes is a widely used breeding management system which offers several advantages to the farmer. Cross breeding the hill ewe with the lowland ram brings about hybrid vigour or heterosis, which brings the best characteristics of both breeds into one ewe that can be used in producing lamb for the table. The hill ewe, for example the Scottish Blackface, is a hardy animal with good, natural mothering instincts. She is, however, not very prolific and tends to produce one lamb: suited to the harsh conditions. The lowland ram, such as the Blueface Leicester is prolific, producing ewes which give 1-3 lambs and capable of producing enough milk to rear them. The cross between the two, in this case the Scottish mule, has good mothering instincts, good sized lambs and prolific milk production.

This mule is usually crossed with a meat-type ram, such as the Suffolk or Texel, to produce these market lambs. This breeding also allows a convenient system of management whereby hill ewes can be reared in difficult areas where other species would not survive to produce lamb. At the end of her productive life (around 4 years) she can be moved to a lowland farm and crossed with the Blueface Leicester or a similar breed to produce the mules for market lamb production.

Mule (surname)

Mule or Mules is a surname which may refer to:


  • Francesco Mulé (1926–1984), Italian film actor
  • Giuseppe Mulè (1885-1951), Italian composer and conductor, father of Francesco Mulé
  • Marcel Mule (1901–2001), classical saxophonist


  • Charles Mules (1837-1927), third Anglican Bishop of Nelson, New Zealand
  • Horace Charles Mules, Commissioner in Sind, British India, from 1903 to 1904
  • John W. H. Mules, after whom the practice of Mulesing is named
Mule (newspaper)

MULE is a non-profit, Manchester-based independent media project. The newspaper had a quarterly print run of 10,000, distributed free around the city of Manchester until August 2010, and runs a regularly updated website. The paper is openly political and critical of local councils and politicians, big business and property developers, privatisation of public space, public bodies and Greater Manchester Police. MULE claims to be committed to social, economic and environmental justice and social change.

MULE′s mission is to reach out to a wide-ranging cross-section of society, producing an accessible and tabloid style paper, which aims to address issues the mainstream local media neglect via investigative journalism. It focuses on a number of areas its members consider important, particularly local democracy, corporate power and big business in Manchester, local public bodies and quangos, property developers and regeneration, right wing extremism and racism (particularly the British National Party and English Defence League), deportation and detention of migrants, community campaigns, and local cultural events. It has been critical of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition and has actively reported on local groups fighting the government's austerity drive and cuts to public services.

MULE′s website also provides an online diary (which includes all of Manchester City Council's public meetings) for local groups to post events on. On the website the collective encourage new writers to get involved and for local people to send in their stories.

Mule (nickname)

Mule is the nickname of:

  • George Mule Armstrong (1885–1954), American Negro league baseball player
  • Johan Franzén (born 1979), Swedish National Hockey League player
  • George Mule Haas (1903–1974), American Major League Baseball player
  • Major Holley (1924–1990), American jazz bassist
  • John "Mule" Miles (1922–2013), American Negro league baseball player
  • Ernest Mule Shirley (1901–1955), American Major League Baseball player
  • Joe Sprinz (1902–1994), American Major League Baseball catcher
  • Herschel Stockton (1913–1965), American National Football League player
  • George Mule Suttles (1901–1966), American Negro league baseball player
  • Henry Townsend (musician) (1909–2006), American blues singer, guitarist and pianist
  • John Mule Watson (1896–1949), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Milt Watson (1890–1962), American Major League Baseball player
  • Fay Mule Wilson (1901–1937), American National Football League player

Usage examples of "mule".

She tottered after several aflight and erratic cards, stepping out of her step-in mules.

The Alcalde is a mule, we know that, and anything that serves to magnify himself and his office is likely to be prolonged.

I acceded rather reluctantly to the proposition, though at that time I was incapable of ascertaining his intention, which was, after conducting me to a remote part of the structure, to deliver me into the hands of three ruffians, who, having covered me with a veil so thick as to exclude every object from my view, placed me upon a mule, and conveyed me, regardless of my cries, through the deepest recesses of the woods, when, having arrived at a small inn, situated at the extremity of the forest, we stopped without alighting for refreslnnent.

They cut her in two an' drug her over with twelve head of horses and two mules.

Then again, Ancar had heard that the man had the strength and stamina of one of his mules.

The arriero, the Spanish muleteer in charge of the pack train, rode a mule at the head of a train of twenty mules.

As he advanced into Thrace, the son of Theodemir found an inhospitable solitude, and his Gothic followers, with a heavy train of horses, of mules, and of wagons, were betrayed by their guides among the rocks and precipices of Mount Sondis, where he was assaulted by the arms and invectives of Theodoric the son of Triarius.

Therefore, when Ali Baba arose the next morning, even before the dawn, so that he might drive his mules the incredibly great distance into that portion of the dangerous forest where the best wood might be found, he discovered these twin disasters.

Hence, if we are mining it further away, we will be collecting the bauxite with pickaxe and shovel, carrying it out of the mine by wheelbarrow, hoist, or mine car, and shipping it to the processing plant by pack mule, wagon, barge or ship.

The whole scene, the close, desperate fighting, the carcasses of the mules, the officers and men crouching behind them, the flaming stacks of bhoosa, the flashes of the rifles, and over all and around all, the darkness of the night--is worthy of the pencil of De Neuville.

In horses, mules, and vehicles the richer North wore out the poorer and blockaded South.

They passed the filteration plant, the city mule barns, and then Bowie turned back east and presently they were on a paved, residential street.

Before moonrise, the other mule stumbled into a dry arroyo, pitching Buglet over its head.

The mule was probably bad-tempered because it was burdened with the big Hotchkiss machine gun and ammunition boxes too.

There was a Struggle, a screaming, a mule rolled over, a wounded man sprang up in a cacolet with a spear through him, and then through the narrow gap surged a stream of naked savages, mad with battle, drunk with slaughter, spotted and splashed with blood--blood dripping from their spears, their arms, their faces.