Muskets and birds. I can’t resist joining the chatline on linguistic matters. I cannot add to the speculation about ‘a musket of lyrebirds’ but only concur with those who suggest a borrowing from a more ancient usage (unless it is a totally modern fabrication).
But those fascinated, as I am, by both words and birds, may know, as David has discovered, that the musket was in fact a bird. The sparrow hawk, in old French, was known as the ‘mouchet’ or little fly. The gun acquired the name mouchet at some point and
came into English as musket. This forms part of the long tradition of naming weapons, something which began in ancient times and persists today. Followers of game of Thrones will know all about the naming of swords. The names of mythical creatures, birds,
reptiles and so on are still today a common subset of weapon names. The musket has its modern counterpart such as the M57 Dragon, an antitank missile. But the richest source of animal names associated with warfare, are of course fighter planes – kittyhawk,
raptor, viper, hornet and such like. Cheers