byssus

noun
bys·​sus | \ ˈbi-səs How to pronounce byssus (audio) \
plural byssuses or byssi\ ˈbi-​ˌsī How to pronounce byssi (audio) , -​(ˌ)sē \

Definition of byssus

1 : a fine probably linen cloth of ancient times
2 [ New Latin, from Latin ] : a tuft of long tough filaments by which some bivalve mollusks (such as mussels) adhere to a surface

First Known Use of byssus

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for byssus

Middle English bissus, from Latin byssus, from Greek byssos flax, of Semitic origin; akin to Hebrew būṣ linen cloth

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about byssus

Dictionary Entries near byssus

byssinosis

byssoid

byssolite

byssus

by-stake

bystander

by step

Statistics for byssus

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for byssus

The first known use of byssus was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on byssus

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with byssus

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about byssus

Comments on byssus

What made you want to look up byssus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!