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 Marathon sent around 80 responders to clean up the site, according to Kevin Turner, an on-scene coordinator with the Environmental Protection Agency, and agreed to fund an effort to propagate the mussel population. Washington Post, 10 Oct. 2021 Scientists on the Lake Guardian also used video technology, a newer tool to assess mussel coverage. Morgan Greene,, 30 July 2021 Even northern California’s coast experienced a similar mussel cookout in their own separate heat wave in June, reports Amy Graff of SFGate. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 July 2021 This theory is supported by the piles of mussel shells and fish bone fragments discovered under the floors. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Oct. 2021 By considering the mussel population today, river authorities can help municipalities avoid uncertainty about water later. Elena Bruess, San Antonio Express-News, 6 Oct. 2021 Tierra Curry, a senior scientist with wildlife advocacy group the Center for Biological Diversity, said that many mussel species were lost or pushed to the brink of extinction because of dam constructions in Alabama. Dennis Pillion |, al, 29 Sep. 2021 Biologists blame a complex set of factors, including a loss of perch-sustaining plankton tied to the quagga mussel invasion., 2 Sep. 2021 Whitefish have since adapted and are now feeding on mussel-eating gobies., 2 Sep. 2021

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near mussel



mussel bill

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Last Updated

24 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mussel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on mussel

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


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