General English


  • noun a hybrid and usually sterile offspring of a male ass and a mare
  • noun a crossbred sheep from a Blue-faced Leicester ram and a Swaledale ewe. Mules have speckled faces and a high lambing rate.



  • noun a person who smuggles illegal drugs from one country to another by hiding them on or in their body


  • noun a four-legged animal produced by mating a horse with a donkey, which is suitable for carrying loads over rough terrain


  • noun a carrier of illicit drugs across frontiers and/or through customs, a transporter of contraband; someone hired to do this rather than the owner of the drugs. The term was first used by smugglers, then later by law enforcers.

Origin & History of “mule”

English has two words mule. The ‘donkey-like animal’ (13th c.) comes via Old French mul from Latin mūlus, which was borrowed from a pre-Latin language of the Mediterranean area; Albanian mušk ‘mule’ is related. Mule the ‘slipper’ (16th c.) is probably an adaptation of Latin mulleus, which denoted a sort of red or purple shoe worn by high-ranking magistrates in Rome. this was short for mulleus calceus ‘red shoe’, and mulleus itself appears to have been derived from mullus ‘red mullet’ (ultimate source of English mullet (15th c.)), which in turn came from Greek múllos, a relative of mélās ‘black’.