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or mollusc

[mol-uh sk] /ˈmɒl əsk/
any invertebrate of the phylum Mollusca, typically having a calcareous shell of one, two, or more pieces that wholly or partly enclose the soft, unsegmented body, including the chitons, snails, bivalves, squids, and octopuses.
Origin of mollusk
1775-85; < French mollusque < New Latin Mollusca; see Mollusca
Related forms
molluskan, molluscan
[muh-luhs-kuh n] /məˈlʌs kən/ (Show IPA),
adjective, noun
mollusklike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for molluscs
Historical Examples
  • At this period the best bait is small minnows, crayfish, molluscs, etc.

    Black Bass Charles Barker Bradford
  • The molluscs of that time had a shell more universally than those of to-day.

    Creative Evolution Henri Bergson
  • In this torpor the echinoderms and even the molluscs live to-day.

    Creative Evolution Henri Bergson
  • There were two ways in which the dye was obtained from the molluscs.

    History of Phoenicia George Rawlinson
  • In appearance they much resemble the young of higher species of molluscs.

    The Sea Shore William S. Furneaux
  • This prohibition also includes the whole of the molluscs, and the marine worms, or annelids.

    Bible Animals; J. G. Wood
  • Taking them in their zoological order, we will begin with the molluscs.

    Bible Animals; J. G. Wood
  • The dye-producing power is not restricted to the whelks, but is shared by other molluscs.

    Bible Animals; J. G. Wood
  • The variation in the length of life of molluscs appears to be great.

  • It is this winter domicile that is most frequently found in the shells of molluscs.

    Spiders Cecil Warburton
Word Origin and History for molluscs



1783, mollusque (modern spelling from 1839), from French mollusque, from Modern Latin Mollusca (see Mollusca), the phylum name. Related: Molluscuous; molluscan.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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molluscs in Science
mollusk or mollusc
Any of numerous invertebrate animals of the phylum Mollusca, usually living in water and often having a hard outer shell. They have a muscular foot, a well-developed circulatory and nervous system, and often complex eyes. Mollusks include gastropods (snails and shellfish), slugs, octopuses, squids, and the extinct ammonites. Mollusks appear in the fossil record in the early Cambrian Period, but it is not known from what group they evolved.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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