mus·​sel | \ ˈmə-səl How to pronounce mussel (audio) \

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 Freshwater mussels are even finicky in sickness and death. Marion Renault, Wired, "Freshwater Mussels Are Dying—Which Is the Likeliest Culprit?," 18 Apr. 2020 Then add the clams and mussels, and finally, top with the remaining seaweed. CBS News, "The Dish: Luke Holden of Luke's Lobster shares his signature recipes," 6 July 2019 These chimney-like structures allow tube worms, clams, mussels, and other organisms to survive not via photosynthesis but chemosynthesis, in which microbes convert chemicals released by the vents into energy. Paul Chesley, National Geographic, "Our oceans are under attack by climate change, overfishing," 21 Mar. 2019 But deep in Cueva de Figueira Brava, which housed Neanderthals about 100,000 years ago, Dr. Rodrigues and her colleagues have uncovered more than 560 fish bones, as well as remains from clams, mussels, crabs, waterfowl, seabirds, seals and dolphins. New York Times, "Neanderthals Feasted on Seafood, Seabirds, Perhaps Even Dolphins," 26 Mar. 2020 In addition to the aforementioned mussels and juvenile fish, gobies have an appetite for fish eggs and will raid bass beds for snacks. Colin Moore, Outdoor Life, "These 8 Aquatic Invasive Species are Threatening Fisheries Across the U.S.," 7 Feb. 2020 The mussels are from Galicia, Spain, an area famous for its seafood, packed by the Ramón Peña canning factory in a shiny black and gold box. Los Angeles Times, "A critic’s favorite hack for a quick meal at home," 4 Apr. 2020 Freshwater mussels are the silent superstars of rivers and streams across the world. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Scientists Don’t Know Why Freshwater Mussels Are Dying Across North America," 17 Dec. 2019 There is also an everything ceviche, into which Mr. Caballero will toss the whole fish market: clams, mussels, octopus, squid, shrimp and corvina. Pete Wells, New York Times, "Life at Caleta 111 Revolves Around Limes and Tiger’s Milk," 18 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for mussel

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for mussel

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mussel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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How to pronounce mussel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mussel

: a type of shellfish that has a long dark shell


mus·​sel | \ ˈmə-səl How to pronounce mussel (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on mussel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mussel

Spanish Central: Translation of mussel

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

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