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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 mollusks
Historical Examples
  • If Tartlet complains, it is because he does not like mollusks!

    Godfrey Morgan Jules Verne
  • The mollusks and Brachiopods would afford us examples too numerous to mention.

    Illogical Geology George McCready Price
  • Among the mollusks we must note the evolution of the cephalopods.

    The Elements of Geology William Harmon Norton
  • Sponges, echinoderms, brachiopods, and mollusks were abundant.

    The Elements of Geology William Harmon Norton
  • The reason why some mollusks have thus lost their shells is clear enough.

  • We shall now turn our attention to the highest order of mollusks—the cephalopods.

    Geology William J. Miller
  • This is earthy and brittle, not stony, like the shells of mollusks.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide Augusta Foote Arnold
  • It is also found on the carapace of crabs and Limulus, and on mollusks.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide Augusta Foote Arnold
  • mollusks, and other classes as well, differ in different latitudes.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide Augusta Foote Arnold
  • A decided tendency to this departure from the type is a feature of the mollusks.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide Augusta Foote Arnold
Word Origin and History for mollusks



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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mollusks 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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mollusks in Culture
mollusks [(mol-uhsks)]

A phylum of invertebrates with soft bodies and muscular feet. Some mollusks also have hard shells. Oysters, clams, snails, slugs, octopuses, and squid are mollusks.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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