Definition of muffle in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Wrap or cover for warmth.

    ‘on a chair by the far wall, muffled in an absurd overcoat’
    • ‘They emerged from the darkness so muffled against the cold it was hard to tell if they were children or old, bent women.’
    • ‘Partridge, however, does not recognize them, muffled up as they are at this time of night.’
    • ‘And so they came in Christmas, muffled up in furs and with mountains of luggage, and were pleasantly surprised.’
    wrap, wrap up, swathe, swaddle, enfold, envelop, cloak, cover up
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    1. 1.1 Cover or wrap up (a source of sound) to reduce its loudness.
      ‘the soft beat of a muffled drum’
      • ‘The rain's playing muffled kettledrums on our roof, shimmering like sheets of cellophane outside.’
      • ‘That they were on muffled phone lines didn't help as Dunphy only twice became animated during his two-hour stint and that was when he had guests in the studio.’
      • ‘She mouths to me, muffling the handset with her hand.’
      • ‘At once, his body pressed me so hard into the seat that I couldn't move, his hands pinned my own down, and his lips covered mine, muffling me.’
    2. 1.2 Make (a sound) quieter or less distinct.
      ‘his voice was muffled’
      • ‘The faces and voices around him are blurred and muffled.’
      • ‘While the score and effects such as gunshots were all done well, dialogue remained muffled on every single disc.’
      • ‘Apart from elaborating the ongoing judicial usurpation on these issues, the conservative voice seems to have become muffled.’
      • ‘Dialogue is often thick and muffled, although it is easy enough to understand, or would be if I actually spoke Italian.’
      • ‘Occasionally they would hear one of their loud, hooting cries echoing across the plain, muffled and distorted through the mist.’
      • ‘Shapes moved outside and I heard voices, muffled through the wall.’
      • ‘My vision faded until I could see no more, then I heard words; however, those were even too muffled to hear.’
      • ‘His voice echoed throughout the library, faint and muffled.’
      • ‘The Canadian accents were presented with clarity, but occasionally muffled.’
      • ‘Fear becomes for her parents the permanent and muffled undertone of their life.’
      • ‘It is mostly clear, occasionally muffled, and lacking in dynamic range.’
      • ‘A small, muffled whisper - like a careless sigh of contentment - drifted from the other side of the room, by the window.’
      • ‘Cole realized the plan at the same time Jeremy did, and she started to struggle furiously, muffled screams coming from her mouth.’
      • ‘Nick chuckles, and Jonnie guesses from the next muffled, unintelligible words that the pair are now kissing.’
      • ‘Also, I hope you like your music mushy and muffled, because that's just what you'll get with the soundtrack here.’
      • ‘Better relations should not mean muffling Britain's views on human rights and the rule of law.’
      • ‘A bright flash of light broke out and surrounded Ryuma, his screams slightly muffled by the thickness of his own energy.’
      • ‘Zoe's screams of fear and rage became muffled as he began to engulf her, and she realized how powerless she was in her current state.’
      • ‘Dialogue seemed a bit muffled in some sequences, but nothing terrible.’
      • ‘The rest of the conversation was too low and muffled for her to hear, and when it seemed to be over there was silence until the door swung open and a deep voice called out her name.’
      deaden, dull, dampen, damp down, mute, soften, quieten, hush, silence, still, tone down, mask, stifle, smother, subdue, suppress, gag, muzzle
      indistinct, faint, muted, dull, dim, soft, strangled, stifled, smothered, suppressed
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Restrain or conceal (someone) with wrappings.
      ‘the boy was bound and muffled’
      • ‘I saw her for the first time, sitting in a chair, muffled and tied.’
      • ‘He was conveyed, gagged and muffled, to the Tower, where he was, through fear of death, compelled to sign his recantation.’
      • ‘The earth, so long muffled in the heavy, stained cloak of sinful mortality, shall be made fully alive.’


  • usually as modifier A receptacle in a furnace or kiln in which things can be heated without contact with combustion products.

    • ‘However, in this case organic C was removed from the sand by muffle furnace, following an initial wash to remove particulate material.’
    • ‘Samples were heated to 450 deg C in a muffle furnace overnight.’
    • ‘Ash content was determined by combustion for 6 h at 500 deg C in a muffle furnace.’
    • ‘It is difficult to obtain good results from oil heating, even with the muffle furnaces.’
    • ‘Evidently there were still enough blanks from Jingdezhen for enameling in the muffle kilns of Canton.’


Late Middle English (as a verb): perhaps a shortening of Old French enmoufler; the noun (mid 17th century) from Old French moufle ‘thick glove’.