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Definition of "byssus" [bys•sus]

  • Zoology A mass of strong, silky filaments by which certain bivalve mollusks, such as mussels, attach themselves to rocks and other fixed surfaces. (noun)
  • A fine-textured linen of ancient times, used by the Egyptians for wrapping mummies. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "byssus" in a sentence
  • "Mussels anchor themselves in the inter-tidal zone by means of a thatch of tough proteinaceous fibers called the byssus, or “beard.”"
  • "These strategically placed threads form a bundle called the byssus, which tethers the mussel to its new home in much the same way that guy ropes hold down a tent."
  • "The illustration shows a rare species, several specimens of which were found attached to the mooring-chain of a buoy by what is known as the "byssus," a bunch of tough fibres which passes through an hiatus in the margins of the valves."