What does byssus mean?

Definitions for byssus
ˈbɪs əs; ˈbɪs aɪbyssus

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word byssus.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. byssus, beardnoun

    tuft of strong filaments by which e.g. a mussel makes itself fast to a fixed surface


  1. byssusnoun

    An exceptionally fine and valuable fibre or cloth of ancient times. Originally used for fine flax and linens, its use was later extended to fine cottons, silks, and sea silk.

  2. byssusnoun

    The long fine silky filaments excreted by several mollusks (particularly Pinna nobilis) by which they attach themselves to the sea bed, from which sea silk is manufactured.

  3. byssusnoun

    The stipe or stem of some fungi which are particularly thin and thread-like.

  4. Etymology: From byssus, from byssus, from βύσσος, from בוץ, בּוש.


  1. Byssus

    A byssus () is a bundle of filaments secreted by many species of bivalve mollusc that function to attach the mollusc to a solid surface. Species from several families of clams have a byssus, including pen shells (Pinnidae), true mussels (Mytilidae), and Dreissenidae.


  1. byssus

    Byssus is a set of strong, silky and flexible filaments secreted by certain types of bivalve mollusks, such as mussels or clams, which they use to attach themselves to solid surfaces like rocks or the sea floor. It is remarkably strong and resistant to degradation in water. The term can also refer to a type of fine, ancient cloth sometimes made of these filaments.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Byssusnoun

    a cloth of exceedingly fine texture, used by the ancients. It is disputed whether it was of cotton, linen, or silk

  2. Byssusnoun

    a tuft of long, tough filaments which are formed in a groove of the foot, and issue from between the valves of certain bivalve mollusks, as the Pinna and Mytilus, by which they attach themselves to rocks, etc

  3. Byssusnoun

    an obsolete name for certain fungi composed of slender threads

  4. Byssusnoun



  1. Byssus

    A byssus is a group of strong filaments that are secreted by some families of clams, in order to attach themselves to hard surfaces. Well known for possessing a byssus are several families of clams, including the pen shells, the true mussels and the false mussels: the Pinnidae, the Mytilidae and the Dreissenidae. The phrase "byssus cloth" is also used to mean a rare fabric also known as sea silk, which is made using the byssus of pen shells as a fiber source.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Byssus

    bis′us, n. a fine yellowish flax, and the linen made from it: the bundle of fine silky filaments by which many shellfish attach themselves to rocks, &c.: a genus of cryptogamic plants of a silky fibrous texture found on decaying wood, in mines, &c., and other dark places.—adjs. Byssif′erous, bearing or having a byssus; Byss′ine, made of fine linen. [L.—Gr. byssos, a fine flaxen or silky substance.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. byssus

    The silken filaments of any of the bivalved molluscs which adhere to rocks, as the Pinna, Mytilus, &c. The silken byssus of the great pinna, or wing-shell, is woven into dresses. In the Chama gigas it will sustain 1000 lbs. Also, the woolly substance found in damp parts of a ship.

Suggested Resources

  1. byssus

    Song lyrics by byssus -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by byssus on the Lyrics.com website.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of byssus in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of byssus in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

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"byssus." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 19 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/byssus>.

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