noun, often attributive
oys·ter | \ˈȯi-stər \

Definition of oyster 

1a : any of various marine bivalve mollusks (family Ostreidae) that have a rough irregular shell closed by a single adductor muscle and include commercially important shellfish

b : any of various mollusks resembling or related to the oysters

2 : something that is or can be readily made to serve one's personal ends the world was her oyster

3 : a small mass of muscle contained in a concavity of the pelvic bone on each side of the back of a fowl

4 : an extremely taciturn person

5 : a grayish-white color

Examples of oyster in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Leo was the most fun guy to dig for oysters with, and what better way to spark the romance than with some fresh, cold ones from the Chesapeake Bay. Becca Kufrin, PEOPLE.com, "Bachelorette Becca Kufrin on That 'Embarrassing' Group Date — and Falling for One 'Standup Man'," 9 July 2018 There will be Arctic Choice Seafoods with Prince William Sound side stripe shrimp, sockeye salmon from King Cove, king salmon from Anita Bay, oysters from Karheen Passage, halibut, rockfish, sablefish and frozen options too. Steve Edwards, Anchorage Daily News, "Muldoon Farmers Market finds new home in a new neighborhood park," 20 June 2018 In 2016, for example, oysters from two Oregon bays were found to contain traces of medications like antibiotics, antihistamines and pain relievers. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Cocaine in the Water Is Hurting River Eels," 20 June 2018 The California Department of Public Health on Tuesday said that approximately 100 people there have become sick after eating oysters from Baynes Sound in British Columbia. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Canadian Raw Oysters Are Behind a Norovirus Outbreak in California," 3 May 2018 Nearby are a collection of jewelry, a basket of fruit and flowers, a sprig of roses and a bowl of oysters. Mercedes Leguizamon And Brandon Griggs, CNN, "A forgotten painting in an Iowa closet turns out to be a 16th-century masterwork worth millions," 2 Apr. 2018 Regina Benjamin's Country Credentials: What Rural Medicine Taught America's Next Top Doc by Johannah Cornblatt A patient who couldn’t pay Dr. Regina Benjamin in cash once dropped off a sack of oysters to thank her for treating him. Newsweek, "Amazing Photos of Bioluminescent Phytoplankton," 14 Mar. 2018 Ruling regimes require some kind of irritant, a grain of sand in the oyster, to reactivate their latent powers, to exercise their atrophied muscles, to make their pearls. Henry Farrell, Washington Post, "Trump is a typical conservative. That says a lot about the conservative tradition.," 1 Feb. 2018 How to survive: Don't eat raw or undercooked oysters or other shellfish. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Be wary of these NC natural wonders this summer," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oyster.' 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 oyster

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for oyster

Middle English oistre, from Anglo-French, from Latin ostrea, from Greek ostreon; akin to Greek ostrakon shell, osteon bone — more at osseous

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Dictionary Entries near oyster

oy gevalt!




oyster agaric


oyster bar

Phrases Related to oyster

the world is someone's oyster

Statistics for oyster

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for oyster

The first known use of oyster was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for oyster



English Language Learners Definition of oyster

: a type of shellfish that has a rough shell with two parts and that is eaten both cooked and raw


oys·ter | \ˈȯi-stər \

Kids Definition of oyster

: a shellfish that lives on stony bottoms ( oyster beds ) in shallow seawater, has a rough grayish shell made up of two hinged parts, and is often used for food

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Comments on oyster

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


one that holds something together

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