• synonyms


  1. veneering of furniture with matched flitches having a figure of concentric rings.
  2. flitches used on an oystered piece.
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Origin of oystering

First recorded in 1910–15; oyster + -ing1


  1. any of several edible, marine, bivalve mollusks of the family Ostreidae, having an irregularly shaped shell, occurring on the bottom or adhering to rocks or other objects in shallow water.
  2. the oyster-shaped bit of dark meat in the front hollow of the side bone of a fowl.
  3. Slang. a closemouthed or uncommunicative person, especially one who keeps secrets well.
  4. something from which a person may extract or derive advantage: The world is my oyster.
  5. oyster white.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to dredge for or otherwise take oysters.
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Origin of oyster

1325–75; Middle English oistre < Middle French < Latin ostrea < Greek óstreon; see ostracize
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for oystering

Historical Examples of oystering

  • It makes no difference to him at what hour he returns,—from oystering or from the cranberry-bog.

    By The Sea

    Heman White Chaplin

  • In order to meet this demand he commonly resorted to oystering.

  • Dredging is a much faster and less laborious method of oystering than tonging, and can be carried on over a much larger territory.

    A Report upon the Mollusk Fisheries of Massachusetts

    Commissioners on Fisheries and Game

  • It was the most popular boat used in the colony for collecting corn from the Indians, fishing, oystering, and exploring.

  • There are few negro families of which some member does not spend part of the year fishing or oystering.

    The Negro Farmer

    Carl Kelsey

British Dictionary definitions for oystering


    1. any edible marine bivalve mollusc of the genus Ostrea, having a rough irregularly shaped shell and occurring on the sea bed, mostly in coastal waters
    2. (as modifier)oyster farm; oyster knife
  1. any of various similar and related molluscs, such as the pearl oyster and the saddle oyster (Anomia ephippium)
  2. the oyster-shaped piece of dark meat in the hollow of the pelvic bone of a fowl
  3. something from which advantage, delight, profit, etc, may be derivedthe world is his oyster
  4. informal a very uncommunicative person
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  1. (intr) to dredge for, gather, or raise oysters
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Word Origin for oyster

C14 oistre, from Old French uistre, from Latin ostrea, from Greek ostreon; related to Greek osteon bone, ostrakon shell
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 oystering



early 14c., from Old French oistre (Modern French huître), from Latin ostrea, plural or fem. of ostreum "oyster," from Greek ostreon, from PIE *ost- "bone" (see osseous). Related to Greek ostrakon "hard shell" and to osteon "bone."

Why then the world's mine Oyster, which I, with sword will open. [Shakespeare, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," II.ii.2]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with oystering


see world is one's oyster.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.