or mol·lusc

[mol-uh sk]


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 formsmol·lus·kan, mol·lus·can [muh-luhs-kuh n] /məˈlʌs kən/, adjective, nounmol·lusk·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mollusc

Historical Examples of mollusc

  • Christopher found the mollusc very shy, the shell innutritive.

    Cruel Barbara Allen

    David Christie Murray

  • The mollusc has the advantage of finding his defence within himself.

    The Sea

    Jules Michelet

  • It is not enough that the mollusc should have a fine flavour; it must have the peculiar taste.

    The Ocean World:

    Louis Figuier

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

    The Ocean World:

    Louis Figuier

  • Was then the mollusc or the chief the root from which the god grew up?

British Dictionary definitions for mollusc


US mollusk


any invertebrate of the phylum Mollusca, having a soft unsegmented body and often a shell, secreted by a fold of skin (the mantle). The group includes the gastropods (snails, slugs, etc), bivalves (clams, mussels, etc), and cephalopods (cuttlefish, octopuses, etc)
Derived Formsmolluscan or US molluskan (mɒˈlʌskən), adjective, nounmollusc-like or US mollusk-like, adjective

Word Origin for mollusc

C18: via New Latin from Latin molluscus, from mollis soft
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 mollusc

see mollusk.



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

mollusc in Science


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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.