mol·​lusk | \ ˈmä-ləsk How to pronounce mollusk (audio) \
variants: or mollusc

Definition of mollusk

: any of a large phylum (Mollusca) of invertebrate animals (such as snails, clams, or squids) with a soft unsegmented body usually enclosed in a calcareous shell broadly : shellfish

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from mollusk

molluscan or less commonly molluskan \ mə-​ˈlə-​skən How to pronounce molluskan (audio) , mä-​ \ adjective

Examples of mollusk in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Daily growth rings on a 70-million-year-old fossilized mollusk indicate that Earth turned faster at the time, squeezing 372 days into each year. Sarah Lewin Frasier, Scientific American, "In Case You Missed It," 26 May 2020 New Yorkers of all classes consumed more oysters than beef in the late 19th century, and the mollusks were a staple food for many along the coasts. Ben Kesslen, NBC News, "Want to help save the oyster industry? Eat bigger ones, some farmers and chefs say.," 23 May 2020 Forming colonies that can blanket several square feet of bottom in a trout stream, the tiny mollusks vacuum up swaths of algae, an important food for baby fish. Colin Moore, Outdoor Life, "These 8 Aquatic Invasive Species are Threatening Fisheries Across the U.S.," 7 Feb. 2020 And since 2012, he's been looking at the vision of cephalopods, the class of mollusks of which cuttlefish are a part. Ryan Prior, CNN, "Scientists put 3D glasses on cuttlefish and showed them film clips. The results were surprising," 9 Jan. 2020 Some bottom-dwelling sharks that feed on mollusks have teeth suited to grinding and cracking shells open. Lauren Kent, CNN, "How sharks outlived dinosaurs and adapted to suit their environment," 28 Nov. 2019 So, is aquaculture the next step, farming the fast-growing mollusks? National Geographic, "Why do we cover the world's wildlife?," 27 Feb. 2020 The group, called the Mussels of Muscatine, hopes to build an eco-tourism attraction that’s grounded in mussel research and propagation – reversing the legacy of overharvesting the mollusks, now highly valued for their water-cleansing abilities. USA TODAY, "Mussel eco-tourism, Morgan Freeman, firework fix: News from around our 50 states," 14 Mar. 2020 Its diet was diverse, including small animals — fishes, caimans, snakes — as well as mollusks and vegetation, particularly fruits and seeds. Washington Post, "Fossils of car-size ancient turtles found in South America," 15 Feb. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of mollusk

1783, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mollusk

French mollusque, from New Latin Mollusca, from Latin, neuter plural of molluscus thin-shelled (of a nut), from mollis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mollusk

Time Traveler for mollusk

Time Traveler

The first known use of mollusk was in 1783

See more words from the same year

Statistics for mollusk

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mollusk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mollusk


How to pronounce mollusk (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mollusk

biology : any one of a large group of animals (such as snails and clams) that have a soft body without a backbone and that usually live in a shell


mol·​lusk | \ ˈmä-ləsk How to pronounce mollusk (audio) \

Kids Definition of mollusk

: an animal (as a clam, snail, or octopus) that lives mostly in water and has a soft body usually enclosed in a shell containing calcium

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on mollusk

Spanish Central: Translation of mollusk

Nglish: Translation of mollusk for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about mollusk

Comments on mollusk

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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