byssus

noun
bys·​sus | \ ˈbi-səs How to pronounce byssus (audio) \
plural byssuses or byssi\ ˈbi-​ˌsī How to pronounce byssus (audio) , -​(ˌ)sē \

Definition of byssus

1 : a fine probably linen cloth of ancient times
2 [New Latin, from Latin] : a tuft of long tough filaments by which some bivalve mollusks (such as mussels) adhere to a surface

Examples of byssus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Then comes the slightly tedious task, which is pulling off the byssus, or beard, a small length of what looks like black threads twisted together. Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'byssus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of byssus

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for byssus

Middle English bissus, from Latin byssus, from Greek byssos flax, of Semitic origin; akin to Hebrew būṣ linen cloth

Learn More About byssus

Time Traveler for byssus

Time Traveler

The first known use of byssus was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near byssus

byssolite

byssus

by-stake

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for byssus

Cite this Entry

“Byssus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/byssus. Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on byssus

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about byssus

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!