Origin of mussel
Words nearby mussel
MORE ABOUT MUSSEL
Where does mussel come from?
Take a quick gander at your muscles. Do you think they look anything like … mice? And do you think mice resemble mussels, as in the edible mollusk? This may sound odd to you, but to the ancient Romans, it would have made perfect sense.
This is because both the words muscle and mussel come from musculus, which literally means “little mouse” (mus means and is related to “mouse”).
As far as we can tell, the ancient Romans thought that the movement of a muscle, especially when flexing, looked like a mouse was running under your skin. If you don’t know how muscles work, it sounds as reasonable a guess as any.
Now to the mollusk: the ancient Romans apparently also thought that mussels, the shellfish, looked like little mice. The word mussels also comes from that same Latin noun as muscle: musculus.
The roots of these other words may get a rise—of laughter or surprise—out of you. Run on over to our roundup of them at “Weird Word Origins That Will Make Your Family Laugh.”
Did you know … ?
To recap, a mussel is a kind of shellfish and a muscle is a part of the body—neither one are mice. Mussel is a collective name for more than 1,000 species of this type of mollusk. Some species of mussels are eaten as food. This is also the case for other animals that mussels can easily be confused with: clams, oysters, and scallops.
Besides their use as food, mussels are also sought after by humans because, like oysters, they create pearls. But zebra mussels are an invasive species that can harm other animals and clog water mains, resulting in millions of dollars being spent to remove them.
How to use mussel in a sentence
Bivalves — clams, mussels and oysters — can seem intimidating if you’re not used to cooking them.6 simple recipes to showcase clams, mussels and oysters|Kari Sonde|January 11, 2021|Washington Post
Check over the mussels to look for “gapers” — mussels that are open.Mussels are simple to prepare, and add tasty drama to the table|Martha Holmberg|October 29, 2020|Washington Post
You’ll find good mussel farms in the Atlantic off the northeastern coast of the United States as well as in the Pacific Northwest.Mussels are simple to prepare, and add tasty drama to the table|Martha Holmberg|October 29, 2020|Washington Post
The most important varieties are likely the California mussel and the blue or common mussel.14 wild edibles you can pull right out of the ocean|By Bob McNally/Field & Stream|October 19, 2020|Popular-Science
Blue mussels can be found on both of America’s coasts, and prefer the cooler waters of Maine and New England.14 wild edibles you can pull right out of the ocean|By Bob McNally/Field & Stream|October 19, 2020|Popular-Science
Page Six says they dined on mussel soup, crayfish and artichoke risotto at a tony Venetian restaurant.Venice Wedding Bells for George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin?|Barbie Latza Nadeau|June 10, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The Chinese and natives of the place chew this nut with betel-leaf and calcined mussel-shells.A Woman's Journey Round the World|Ida Pfeiffer
There was no welcome on Mrs. Mussel's mat, but I'm still glowing.
Mrs. Mussel gets five of it and the rest I may waste in riotous living.
The boats that were hovering about on the sea looked no bigger than mussel shells.
The Starfish merely presses the mussel into its mouth, cleans out the shells, and throws them away.On the Seashore|R. Cadwallader Smith