[muhs-uh l] /ˈmʌs əl/

any bivalve mollusk, especially an edible marine bivalve of the family Mytilidae and a freshwater clam of the family Unionidae.
any of various marine bivalves of the genus Mytilus and related genera, esp M. edulis (edible mussel), having a dark slightly elongated shell and living attached to rocks, etc
any of various freshwater bivalves of the genera Anodonta, Unio, etc, attached to rocks, sand, etc having a flattened oval shell (a source of mother-of-pearl). The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, can be a serious nuisance in water mains

Old English muscle, musscel “shellfish, mussel,” from Late Latin muscula (source of Old French musle, Modern French moule, Middle Dutch mosscele, Dutch mossel, Old High German muscula, German Muschel), from Latin musculus “mussel,” literally “little mouse,” also “muscle;” like muscle, derived from mus “mouse” on the perceived similarity of size and shape. The modern spelling, distinguishing the word from muscle, first recorded c.1600, not fully established until 1870s.


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  • Mussel-crab

    noun 1. a pea crab, Pinnotheres maculatus, the female of which lives as a commensal within the mantle cavity of mussels.

  • Musselcracker

    /ˈmʌsəlˌkrækə/ noun 1. (South African) a large variety of sea bream, Sparodon durbanensis, that feeds on shellfish and is a popular food and game fish

  • Mussel-shrimp

    noun 1. . noun 1. any of numerous tiny marine and freshwater crustaceans of the subclass Ostracoda, having a shrimplike body enclosed in a hinged bivalve shell.

  • Mussitate

    [muhs-i-teyt] /ˈmʌs ɪˌteɪt/ verb (used without object), mussitated, mussitating. Obsolete. 1. to mutter; mumble.

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