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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various marine gastropods of the genus Murex common in tropical seas and having rough spiny shells, especially M. trunculus, the source of Tyrian purple.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of the genus Murex of marine gastropods.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. . [capitalized] The typical genus of Mùricidæ.
  • n. A species of this genus.
  • n. Pl. murexes or murices (-rek-sez,-ri-sēz). A caltrop.
  • n. A shell used as a trumpet, as in representations of tritons, in art.


New Latin Mūrex, genus name, from Latin mūrex, purple-fish.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • Is this indeed the "murex," as Browning calls it, of the Tyrian purple, which can be found on the Minehead rocks at low-tide by the holiday-makers of our day?

    Lynton and Lynmouth A Pageant of Cliff & Moorland

  • The whole verse of course begins to explain itself, if we know the meaning of the word "murex," which is the name of a sea-shell, out of which was made the celebrated blue dye of Tyre.

    Robert Browning

  • "The 'murex' contains a dye of miraculous beauty; and this once extracted and bottled, Hobbs, Nobbs, and Co. may trade in it and feast; but the poet who (figuratively) brought the murex to land, and created its value, may, as Keats probably did, eat porridge all his life."

    A Handbook to the Works of Browning (6th ed.)

  • I can think of a lot of pink in nature: the inside of a white murex shell is pink.

    The Pink Dress

  • These wide-ranging traders were especially known for trafficking in the cedars of Lebanon from the coastal mountains of their homeland and a rare purple dye derived from the murex shells of the Lebanese coast.

    Alexander the Great

  • The Phoenicians were the pioneers in the seventh century BC, scouting for the imperial purple dye found in the murex sea snails of the Moroccan coast.

    Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories by Simon Winchester – review

  • I wish I could get royal purple not amythyst, not murex purple — real royal purple seed beads.

    BOOK VIEW CAFE BLOG » Bead Creatures

  • Best to Corcyra go for cuttle-fish, for the acarne and the fat sea-skull the purple-fish, the little murex too, mice of the sea and the sea-urchin sweet.

    The Defense

  • The most famous example of this, according to Macquer, is murex purple (Tyrian purple); he noted that most other colors in this class are light-brown, fawn or root colors.

    The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe

  • They introduced the alphabet to writing systems, exported cedars of Lebanon for shipbuilding and marketed the regal purple dye made from the murex shell.

    Archive 2008-10-01


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  • Genus of tropical sea snail from which a purple dye is derived

    December 11, 2008

  • The port city of Tyre was the ancient capital of Phoenicia and was best known for the production of purple dye extracted from the murex sea snail.

    - National Geographic

    May 17, 2007