noun, often attributive
oys·​ter | \ ˈȯi-stər How to pronounce oyster (audio) \

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 For your wedding party, give gorgeous ring dishes made out of oyster shells sourced from local restaurants. Jennifer Prince, Southern Living, 23 May 2021 Recognizing the benefits of these bivalves on their Panhandle surrounds in South Walton, Florida, owner and CEO, Harrison Holditch, established Distillery 98, with a signature vodka, Dune Laker, that is filtered through oyster shells. Jillian Dara, Forbes, 12 May 2021 Commercial grit is available, usually crushed oyster shells. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 17 Apr. 2021 Baja California oyster farm Jolly Oyster has opened a new location inside Citizen Public Market in Culver City. Garrett Snyder Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 8 Dec. 2020 The winner of this challenge is Gabriel, who made seared foie gras with fried chanterelles and oyster mushrooms. Vulture, 14 May 2021 The sculptural oyster mushrooms and the lion’s mane, with a coat like a puppy, are the most striking. BostonGlobe.com, 27 Apr. 2021 Why: Inspectors temporarily shut this waterfront restaurant and oyster bar for the third – and fourth – times within the past 12 months on April 19 and April 20. Phillip Valys, sun-sentinel.com, 26 Apr. 2021 For the Fab Four, the world was their dizzy, seductive oyster. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, 6 Apr. 2021

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, borrowed from Anglo-French oistre, ostre, going back to Latin ostrea, ostreum "bivalve mollusk, oyster," borrowed from Greek óstreion, óstreon, of uncertain origin

Note: Greek óstreion has traditionally been taken to be a derivative, with a suffix -ei-, of a stem going back to Indo-European *h3esth1-r-, from the base *h3esth1- "bone." See note at ostracon.

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Time Traveler for oyster

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for oyster

Last Updated

1 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oyster.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oyster. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce oyster (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on oyster

Nglish: Translation of oyster for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oyster for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oyster


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