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

Aging in concrete leaves this with a fascinating minerality that makes it a perfect wine to sip while slurping fresh oysters. Andy Perdue, The Seattle Times, "DeLille Cellars’ 2015 Harrison Hill is Andy Perdue’s Wine of the Year," 26 Oct. 2018 Flesh-eating bacteria in raw oysters kill Florida man, health officials say. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Trump briefed on Putin meddling before inauguration; Nunes suggests DOJ, FBI want Dems to win," 19 July 2018 The idea here is a refined take on the classic oyster bar, with just enough Italian inflection to justify the North End address. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "18 Best Restaurants in Boston," 16 July 2018 To continue reading this story, TRY IT NOW Along the shore, entrepreneurs sold everything from raw oysters to sunglasses, tablecloths and blankets. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Mexican work ethic shows itself in midst of warring with neighbors, allies," 10 June 2018 Add pepper sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, ginger, green onion, carrot shreds, chili paste and soy sauce or tamari. Lucy Saunders, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cooking 101: New Marquette classes aim to raise students' kitchen GPA," 27 Apr. 2018 The smoked oyster sauce was like building a rocket. Sam Sifton, New York Times, "The Best Beef and Broccoli, No Delivery Required," 4 Apr. 2018 Served either in a soup or dry with oyster sauce, this spot keeps it simple, yet tasty. Christina Liao, Vogue, "Where to Go to Savor Siu Yeh, Hong Kong’s Late-Night Meal," 10 Feb. 2018 The steak is bathed in a reduction that blends soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and garlic. Eric Velasco, AL.com, "Try this new Asian fusion restaurant in downtown Birmingham," 10 Jan. 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

Statistics for oyster

Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for oyster

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on oyster

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oyster

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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