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byssus

[bis-uh s] /ˈbɪs əs/
noun, plural byssuses, byssi
[bis-ahy] /ˈbɪs aɪ/ (Show IPA)
1.
Zoology. a collection of silky filaments by which certain mollusks attach themselves to rocks.
2.
an ancient cloth, thought to be of linen, cotton, or silk.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek býssos a fine cotton or linen < Semitic; compare Hebrew būts
Related forms
byssaceous
[bih-sey-shuh s] /bɪˈseɪ ʃəs/ (Show IPA),
byssoid, adjective
byssal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for byssus
  • They use little sticky threads call a byssus, or byssal threads to attach to things.
  • As the clam increases in size the byssus disappears.
  • They attach to surfaces using a specialized organ called a byssus.
British Dictionary definitions for byssus

byssus

/ˈbɪsəs/
noun (pl) byssuses, byssi (ˈbɪsaɪ)
1.
a mass of strong threads secreted by a sea mussel or similar mollusc that attaches the animal to a hard fixed surface
Word Origin
C17: from Latin, from Greek bussos linen, flax, ultimately of Egyptian origin
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
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Difficulty index for byssus

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for byssus

11
12
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