noun \ˈmə-səl\

: a type of shellfish that has a long dark shell

Full Definition of MUSSEL

:  a marine bivalve mollusk (especially genus Mytilus) usually having a dark elongated shell
:  a freshwater bivalve mollusk (as of Unio, Anodonta, or related genera) that is especially abundant in rivers of the central United States and has a shell with a lustrous nacreous lining

Origin of MUSSEL

Middle English muscle, from Old English muscelle, from Vulgar Latin *muscula, from Latin musculus muscle, mussel
First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with MUSSEL


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Atlantic ribbed mussels (Modiolus demissus)—Walter Dawn

Any of numerous bivalve species of either the marine family Mytilidae, found worldwide, or the freshwater superfamily Unionacea, called naiads, found mostly in the U.S. and Southeast Asia. Marine mussels are usually wedge-shaped or pear-shaped and 2–6 in. (5–15 cm) long. They may be smooth or ribbed and often have a hairy covering. The shells of many species are dark blue or greenish brown on the outside and pearly on the inside. Mussels attach themselves to solid objects or to one another, often forming dense clusters. Some burrow into soft mud or wood. They are eaten by birds and starfishes, and some species are raised commercially for food.


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