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 mollusks

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

Examples from the Web for mollusks

Historical Examples of mollusks

  • If Tartlet complains, it is because he does not like mollusks!

    Godfrey Morgan

    Jules Verne

  • The Mollusks and Brachiopods would afford us examples too numerous to mention.

    Illogical Geology

    George McCready Price

  • Sponges, echinoderms, brachiopods, and mollusks were abundant.

    The Elements of Geology

    William Harmon Norton

  • Among the mollusks we must note the evolution of the cephalopods.

    The Elements of Geology

    William Harmon Norton

  • The reason why some mollusks have thus lost their shells is clear enough.

Word Origin and History for mollusks



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

mollusks 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.

mollusks in Culture



A phylum of invertebrates with soft bodies and muscular feet. Some mollusks also have hard shells. Oysters, clams, snails, slugs, octopuses, and squid are mollusks.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.