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

The Chesapeake kettle, a gluten- and dairy-free dish, comes in a hulking, wide bowl and is packed with crab claws, tender Virginia clams, mussels, gulf shrimp, red potatoes, an entire ear of roasted corn in a J.O. spice broth. John-john Williams Iv,, "Touting Maryland's best lobster roll, Walrus Oyster & Ale House lives up to the hype," 4 June 2019 The foods richest in these include bivalves such as clams, mussels and oysters; leafy greens such as kale and spinach; wild salmon; organ meats; nuts; beans and seeds. Kathleen Squires, WSJ, "Feed Your Head: Foods That Target Depression and Anxiety," 26 July 2018 The same goes for shellfish like mussels and clams—use the shells, ditch the meat. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "How to Start Composting," 8 Jan. 2019 The chef paired mussels with winter brassicas and grains partly covered with dehydrated leaves. Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "Commis is only one jewel in James Syhabout’s crown," 5 Mar. 2018 Mejillones con Azafran, steamed saffron mussels, are laced with saffron, sherry, garlic, and thyme. Robin Currie,, "Bring the tapas bar home with 'Boqueria'," 5 July 2018 Pickled mussels and scallops cured in kombu and washed in seawater are served in sheep’s yogurt and dill, overwhelmingly briny. Devra First,, "What’s on the menu at Falmouth’s Buffalo Jump? ‘Weird food that only weirdos like’," 11 July 2018 Steak, cooked rice, cheese, mussels and eggs were all also being kept slightly above the mandated temperatures. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "Oak Park Brewing Co. reopens after pest infestation | The Sacramento Bee," 22 May 2018 Seafood is obviously a must-have here, and pretty much every restaurant will have clams, mussels, scallops, cod, and lobster on the menu—the way a restaurant interprets those ingredients is where things get interesting. Todd Plummer, Vogue, "This Maine Island Might Be the Most Beautiful Spot in New England," 22 Aug. 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

8 Jun 2019

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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 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

Comments on mussel

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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