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See more synonyms for bivalve on Thesaurus.com
  1. Also called lamellibranch. Zoology. any mollusk, as the oyster, clam, scallop, or mussel, of the class Bivalvia, having two shells hinged together, a soft body, and lamellate gills.
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  1. Botany. having two valves, as a seedcase.
  2. Zoology. having two shells, usually united by a hinge.
  3. having two similar parts hinged together.
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Origin of bivalve

First recorded in 1670–80; bi-1 + valve
Related formsbi·val·vu·lar [bahy-val-vyuh-ler] /baɪˈvæl vyə lər/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for bivalve

Historical Examples

  • The instance referred to is that presented by bivalve shell-fish.

    On the Genesis of Species

    St. George Mivart

  • The mother-of-pearl which lines some shells, both univalve and bivalve.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • Flattened sideways and as hard as stone, no bivalve can resist it.

  • Many persons prefer it to the bivalve, when it is cooked properly.

    ABC of Vegetable Gardening

    Eben Eugene Rexford

  • A bivalve is said to be oblique when it slants off from the umbones.

    A Conchological Manual

    George Brettingham Sowerby

British Dictionary definitions for bivalve


  1. Also: pelecypod, lamellibranch any marine or freshwater mollusc of the class Pelecypoda (formerly Bivalvia or Lamellibranchia), having a laterally compressed body, a shell consisting of two hinged valves, and gills for respiration. The group includes clams, cockles, oysters, and mussels
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  1. Also: pelecypod, lamellibranch of, relating to, or belonging to the Pelecypoda
  2. Also: bivalvate (baɪˈvælveɪt) biology having or consisting of two valves or similar partsa bivalve seed capsule
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Derived Formsbivalvular, adjective
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 bivalve


1660s in reference to mollusks with double shells; 1670s in reference to shutters or doors; from bi- + valve. The noun is 1680s in the mollusk sense.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bivalve in Science


  1. Any of various mollusks of the class Bivalvia, having a shell consisting of two halves hinged together. Clams, oysters, scallops, and mussels are bivalves. The class Bivalvia is also called Pelecypoda, and was formerly called Lamellibranchia. Compare univalve.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.