mus·sel | \ ˈmə-səl \

Definition of mussel 

1 : a marine bivalve mollusk (especially genus Mytilus) usually having a dark elongated shell

2 : a freshwater bivalve mollusk (as of Unio, Anodonta, or related genera) that is especially abundant in rivers of the central U.S. and has a shell lined with mother-of-pearl

Examples of mussel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But less welcome critters soon followed: sea lampreys, alewives, spiny water fleas, and the poster bivalves for ecological trouble, zebra and quagga mussels. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee loves its rivers and Lake Michigan — and keeps abusing them, too," 3 July 2018 Quagga mussels approach an inch in length and zebra mussels can be about twice that size. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Washington state plans to use dog to detect invasive mussels on boats," 23 June 2018 My deluxe paella — the one packed with a Noah’s ark of surf and turf — tasted and smelled like mussels gone bad, and the $46 pricetag only intensified the sting. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: New Dominion restaurant Acú Bistro Bar aims high but misses a few," 7 June 2018 This is where one finds two steamed mussel preparations, one of which includes a white wine cream base enhanced with cherrywood smoked bacon ($10.99). Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "For breakfast (or any other meal) you can't go wrong at North End Cafe," 23 May 2018 But scientists say those mussels don’t end up on your plate. Deedee Sun, ajc, "Scientists discover opioids in Seattle’s Puget Sound mussels," 23 May 2018 Menu hits include pork cheek poutine; bison tartare with Huitlacoche purée, bourbon, cured egg yolk and brioche; and beer can mussels. Houston Chronicle, "Austin, Waco, New Orleans and more: An easy guide to easy getaways from Houston," 10 May 2018 Once tender, return sausage to the pot, and add clams and mussels. Leilani Marie Labong, San Francisco Chronicle, "Recipe: Dutch Oven Clam Bake," 11 May 2018 Prepare mussels in the traditional manner, or add them to a Spicy Seafood Linguine. Emily Main, Good Housekeeping, "10 Healthiest Fish On The Planet," 25 June 2015

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

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First Known Use of mussel

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mussel

Middle English muscle, from Old English muscelle, from Vulgar Latin *muscula, from Latin musculus muscle, mussel

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Statistics for mussel

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for mussel

The first known use of mussel was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of mussel

: a type of shellfish that has a long dark shell


mus·sel | \ ˈmə-səl \

Kids Definition of mussel

1 : a saltwater shellfish that has a long dark shell in two parts and is sometimes used as food

2 : a freshwater clam of the United States with shells from which mother-of-pearl is obtained

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