"on one's muscle"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Feb 6 00:02:13 UTC 2008

HDAS has this from Matsell's 1859 crime glossary, but this ex., from an editorial in an Indiana newspaper, shows the term was well known and not then restricted to lawbreakers:

  1861 in Alan D. Gaff On Many a Bloody Field (Bloomington: Indiana U. P., 1996) 8:
  [The war will continue] long enough to give all who are "spilin' for a fight," an opportunity to "go in on their muscle."

  HDAS defines it as "belligerently," to which one might add "eager for a brawl."


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