Definitions

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

  • n. Any of several marine bivalve mollusks, especially the edible members of the family Mytilidae and in particular Mytilus edulis, a blue-black species raised commercially in Europe. Mussels are often found attached to rocky surfaces or the sides of ships.
  • n. Any of several freshwater bivalve mollusks of the genera Anodonta and Unio, found in the central United States, that burrow in the sand or mud of lakes and streams.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small edible bivalve shellfish of the families Unionidae (fresh water mussels) and Mytilidae (salt water mussels).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of many species of marine bivalve shells of the genus Mytilus, and related genera, of the family Mytidæ. The common mussel (Mytilus edulis; see Illust. under byssus), and the larger, or horse, mussel (Modiola modiolus), inhabiting the shores both of Europe and America, are edible. The former is extensively used as food in Europe.
  • n. Any one of numerous species of Unio, and related fresh-water genera; -- called also river mussel. See Naiad, and Unio.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Any one of many bivalve mollusks of various genera and species.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. black marine bivalves usually steamed in wine
  • n. marine or freshwater bivalve mollusk that lives attached to rocks etc.

Etymologies

Alteration (possibly influenced by Dutch mossel) of Middle English muscle, from Old English muscelle, from Medieval Latin mūscula, from Latin mūsculus, sea mussel; see muscle.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin mūsculus ("mussel or muscle"), literally "little mouse". (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And when in Normandy, eat the mussels as the Normans do: grab one empty shell in one hand and use it to pluck the plump mussel from the shell in your other hand.

    Kerry Saretsky: Franglais: Moules Marinière over Spaghetti

  • The flesh of a fresh mussel is weak and insubstantial, and it's like putting a raw egg yoke on the hook as bait.

    Aram Roston: Deadliest Catch Brooklyn Style: The Fish You Catch in New York City

  • It had been swimming in the lake -- for muskrats are good swimmers -- when it had found a fresh-water mussel, which is like a clam except that it has a longer shell that is black instead of white.

    The Curlytops on Star Island or Camping out with Grandpa

  • It had been swimming in the lake -- for muskrats are good swimmers -- when it had found a fresh - water mussel, which is like a clam except that it has a longer shell that is black instead of white.

    The Curlytops on Star Island

  • The mussel was his greatest joy, perhaps; it had been given him by a fisherman, who had brought a pocket-full back from his sea trip, to please his own children.

    Nautilus

  • After all, these plump beauties were harvested just down the coast at Yerseke -- the harbour town known as the mussel capital of Holland.

    canada.com Top Stories

  • Chemical analysis of this natural, waterproof glue showed that the key to its adhesiveness is a family of unique proteins called mussel adhesive proteins, which contain a high concentration of DOPA (dihydroxyphenylalanine).

    PhysOrg.com - latest science and technology news stories

  • The five new candidate species include the Florida bonneted bat; the rabbitsfoot mussel, which is found in only 49 streams in the country; and a small fish found in West Virginia's Elk River known as the diamond darter.

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  • Mr. Mendes creates dishes such as mussel soup with sausage, an open-faced sea urchin sandwich and plank-grilled Spanish mackerel in escabeche juice.

    Portions of Portugal

  • Chef George Mendes, born to Portuguese parents, creates dishes such as mussel soup with sausage, an open-faced sea urchin sandwich, plank-grilled Spanish mackerel in escabeche juice and diver scallops with risotto and orange.

    Portions of Portugal

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