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

This includes plant life and invertebrates like mussels and insects. Mi Clear, Detroit Free Press, "MI CLEAR brings together diverse groups to reduce algae blooms in Lake Erie," 20 June 2018 Appetizers range from traditional (chicken-noodle soup, mussels mariniere) to contemporary (hamachi crudo, avocado toast). Phil Vettel,, "Greenwood restaurant, sibling to Ballaro, opens Tuesday in Highland Park," 20 Mar. 2018 On the appetizer side, that would be our fresh mussels, served in a nice white wine broth — also our crab cakes. Bruce Ingram,, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: The Harp and Fiddle in Park Ridge," 5 July 2018 Rhode Island and Washington state also supply aquacultured seafood, such as oysters and mussels. Robin Mcdowell, Washington Post, "AP Investigation: Fish billed as local isn’t always local," 14 June 2018 Scientists deposit mussels in cages in 18 locations. Deedee Sun, ajc, "Scientists discover opioids in Seattle’s Puget Sound mussels," 23 May 2018 The luminous snapper laid down a neutral protein base for a cioppino that painted an intriguing line between broth and marinara with herbs, garlic and acidity ladled over shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: Reborn Rebelle now San Antonio’s finest seafood restaurant," 14 June 2018 But the mussels were solid and sometimes the maitre d’ was happily drunk — and at Christmas, he’d be decked out in a red Santa suit. Carolina A. Miranda,, "For Anthony Bourdain, food was just the entry point for a much wider cultural discussion," 8 June 2018 Though tasty as-is, the nutty mussels are incredibly versatile in chowders, salads, and more. Grace Dickinson,, "Beyond bugs: 12 unique (and strange) ingredients at Mom's Organic Market and what to do with them," 16 May 2018

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

9 Nov 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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