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

Related Words for mollusk

clam, abalone, snail, whelk, chiton, cuttlefish, limpet

Examples from the Web for mollusk

Historical Examples of mollusk

  • It is n't a mollusk's shell, either; it 's a caddice-worm's shell.

    The Poet at the Breakfast Table

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

  • It is a mollusk because it has a mantle, a foot, and a radula.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide

    Augusta Foote Arnold

  • He desired the shell of the mollusk that burrowed in the cleft of the cliff.

    A Singular Life

    Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

  • He had lain there in the sand for some time, as motionless as a mollusk at low water.

    A Singular Life

    Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

  • The Mollusk has years in which to build her spiral, so she makes it very perfectly.

    Insect Adventures

    J. Henri Fabre

Word Origin and History for 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

mollusk 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.