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[mol-uh sk] /ˈmɒl əsk/
any invertebrate of the phylum Mollusca, typically having a calcareous shell of one, two, or more pieces that wholly or partly enclose the soft, unsegmented body, including the chitons, snails, bivalves, squids, and octopuses.
Also, mollusc.
Origin of mollusk
1775-85; < French mollusque < New Latin Mollusca; see Mollusca
Related forms
molluskan, molluscan
[muh-luhs-kuh n] /məˈlʌs kən/ (Show IPA),
adjective, noun
mollusklike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mollusks
  • There are stalls entirely devoted to mollusks, and others consecrated to legumes of every color and shape.
  • All cephalopod mollusks with three hearts are carnivorous, but only one type living in temperate waters is deadly to humans.
  • When the compressed material was introduced into laboratory tanks, the spines of sea urchins and the shells of mollusks dissolved.
  • To a lesser extent, it is also taken out of solution by corals and mollusks to form shells and reefs of carbonates.
  • Fossil seashells trace the evolution of various mollusks through millions of years.
  • Biggest hurdle: getting the robot to convert those captured mollusks into usable energy.
  • From mollusks and fish to reptiles, turtles and crustaceans, the aquarium offers plenty to see and much to learn about the sea.
  • Such conditions are favorable to a plethora of weird and wonderful sea creatures, including mollusks.
  • Seashells are the exoskeletons of mollusks such as snails, clams, oysters and many others.
  • The box holding the bottles had long ago disappeared, consumed by wood-eating mollusks.
Word Origin and History for mollusks



1783, mollusque (modern spelling from 1839), from French mollusque, from Modern Latin Mollusca (see Mollusca), the phylum name. Related: Molluscuous; molluscan.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mollusks in Science
mollusk or mollusc
Any of numerous invertebrate animals of the phylum Mollusca, usually living in water and often having a hard outer shell. They have a muscular foot, a well-developed circulatory and nervous system, and often complex eyes. Mollusks include gastropods (snails and shellfish), slugs, octopuses, squids, and the extinct ammonites. Mollusks appear in the fossil record in the early Cambrian Period, but it is not known from what group they evolved.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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mollusks in Culture
mollusks [(mol-uhsks)]

A phylum of invertebrates with soft bodies and muscular feet. Some mollusks also have hard shells. Oysters, clams, snails, slugs, octopuses, and squid are mollusks.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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