• synonyms


  1. a large mollusk of the genus Haliotis, having a bowllike shell bearing a row of respiratory holes, the flesh of which is used for food and the shell for ornament and as a source of mother-of-pearl.
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Origin of abalone

1840–50, Americanism; taken as singular of California Spanish abulones, plural of abulón, aulón < a word in Rumsen, a Costanoan language formerly spoken at Monterey, California
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for abalones

mollusk, ear, ormer

Examples from the Web for abalones

Historical Examples of abalones

  • The rocks were full of abalones and my bag was soon filling rapidly.

    Bert Wilson's Twin Cylinder Racer

    J. W. Duffield

  • God willing, we shall eat Carmel mussels and abalones in May or June.

  • With love to Carrie, I will leave you to your sea-gardens and abalones.

  • The abalones are as large as steaks, and a great deal tougher.

    In the Footprints of the Padres

    Charles Warren Stoddard

  • From there it was only a stone's throw to the beach where the mussels and abalones clung so thickly to the rocks.

    El Diablo

    Brayton Norton

British Dictionary definitions for abalones


  1. any of various edible marine gastropod molluscs of the genus Haliotis, having an ear-shaped shell that is perforated with a row of respiratory holes. The shells are used for ornament or decorationAlso called: ear shell See also ormer
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Word Origin for abalone

C19: from American Spanish abulón; origin unknown
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

Word Origin and History for abalones



type of marine shell, 1850, American English, from Spanish abulon from Costanoan (a California coastal Indian language family) aluan "red abalone."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper