- Zoology. a collection of silky filaments by which certain mollusks attach themselves to rocks.
- an ancient cloth, thought to be of linen, cotton, or silk.
Origin of byssus
1350–1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek býssos a fine cotton or linen < Semitic; compare Hebrew būts
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for byssus
The silky filaments or byssus by which some testacea adhere to rocks.The Sailor's Word-Book
William Henry Smyth
The byssus plays an important part in the organization of the mussel.The Ocean World:
In Crenatula also there is no passage for the byssus, as in Perna.
Flat, turned up at the sides, an hiatus for the passage of a byssus.
The animals swim like Lima, as above, and also spin a byssus.Illustrated Index of British Shells
George Brettingham Sowerby
- a mass of strong threads secreted by a sea mussel or similar mollusc that attaches the animal to a hard fixed surface
C17: from Latin, from Greek bussos linen, flax, ultimately of Egyptian origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012