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

Examples of byssus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Then comes the slightly tedious task, which is pulling off the byssus, or beard, a small length of what looks like black threads twisted together. Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'byssus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Byssus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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