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From Biology-Online Dictionary
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1. (Science: zoology) A hybrid animal; specifically, one generated between an ass and a mare, sometimes a horse and a she-ass. See Hinny.

Mules are much used as draught animals. They are hardy, and proverbial for stubbornness.

2. (Science: botany) A plant or vegetable produced by impregnating the pistil of one species with the pollen or fecundating dust of another; called also hybrid.

3. A very stubborn person.

4. A machine, used in factories, for spinning cotton, wool, etc, into yarn or thread and winding it into cops; called also jenny and mule-jenny. Mule armadillo, an idle pulley for guiding a belt which transmits motion between shafts that are not parallel. Mule twist, cotton yarn in cops, as spun on a mule; in distinction from yarn spun on a throstle frame.

Origin: F, a she-mule, L. Mula, fem. Of mulus; cf. Gr, . Cf. AS. Ml, fr. L. Mulus. Cf. Mulatto.