2. A species of firearm formerly carried by the infantry of an army. It was originally fired by means of a match, or matchlock, for which several mechanical appliances (including the flintlock, and finally the percussion lock) were successively substituted. This arm has been generally superseded by the rifle.
Alternative forms: musquet.
Origin: F. Mousquet, It. Moschetto, formerly, a kind of hawk; cf. OF. Mousket, moschet, a kind of hawk falcon, F. Mouchet, prop, a little fly (the hawk prob. Being named from its size), fr. L. Musca a fly. Cf. Mosquito]
(01 Mar 1998)
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