byssus

[bis-uhs]
noun, plural byssuses, byssi [bis-ahy] .
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; Middle English < Latin < Greek býssos a fine cotton or linen < Semitic; compare Hebrew būts

byssaceous [bih-sey-shuhs] , byssoid, adjective
byssal, adjective
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World English Dictionary
byssus (ˈbɪsəs)
 
n , pl byssuses, byssi
a mass of strong threads secreted by a sea mussel or similar mollusc that attaches the animal to a hard fixed surface
 
[C17: from Latin, from Greek bussos linen, flax, ultimately of Egyptian origin]

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Example sentences
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.
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