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[kahyt-n, kahy-ton]
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  1. Also called sea cradle. a mollusk of the class Amphineura, having a mantle covered with calcareous plates, found adhering to rocks.
  2. a gown or tunic, with or without sleeves, worn by both sexes in ancient Greece.
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Origin of chiton

1810–20; < Greek chitṓn tunic < Semitic (compare Hebrew kuttōneth tunic); ultimately < Sumerian
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for chiton

Historical Examples

  • He tore his chiton from top to bottom and wrapped it about his mouth and nose.

    Buried Cities: Pompeii, Olympia, Mycenae

    Jennie Hall

  • From the chiton we now pass to the articles of dress of the nature of cloaks.

  • Identical with this in form is the chiton worn by Doric women.

  • Perhaps the commonest of the British species is Chiton cinereus.

    The Sea Shore

    William S. Furneaux

  • Latreille, on the contrary, classed them near the mollusc, chiton.

    The Ocean World:

    Louis Figuier

British Dictionary definitions for chiton


  1. (in ancient Greece and Rome) a loose woollen tunic worn knee length by men and full length by women
  2. Also called: coat-of-mail shell any small primitive marine mollusc of the genus Chiton and related genera, having an elongated body covered with eight overlapping shell plates: class Amphineura
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Word Origin

C19: from Greek khitōn coat of mail, of Semitic origin; related to Hebrew kethōnet
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 chiton


mollusc genus, 1816, from Latinized form of Greek khiton "frock (worn by both sexes), tunic, mail coat" (see chitin). Used in English in literal sense of "ancient Greek tunic" from 1850. The molluscs also are known as "coat-of-mail shells" for their mail-like covering.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper