any bivalve mollusk, especially an edible marine bivalve of the family Mytilidae and a freshwater clam of the family Unionidae.

before 1000; Middle English, Old English muscle < Vulgar Latin *mūscula, variant of Latin mūsculus little mouse, sea mussel. See muscle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
mussel (ˈmʌsəl)
1.  any of various marine bivalves of the genus Mytilus and related genera, esp M. edulis (edible mussel), having a dark slightly elongated shell and living attached to rocks, etc,
2.  any of various freshwater bivalves of the genera Anodonta, Unio, etc, attached to rocks, sand, etc having a flattened oval shell (a source of mother-of-pearl). The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, can be a serious nuisance in water mains
[Old English muscle, from Vulgar Latin muscula (unattested), from Latin musculus, diminutive of mūs mouse]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. muscle, musscel, from L.L. muscula (cf. O.Fr. musle, modern Fr. moule), from L. musculus "mussel," lit. "little mouse," also "muscle;" like muscle, derived from mus "mouse" on the perceived similarity of size and shape. The modern spelling, distinguishing the word from muscle, first recorded 1610,
not fully established until 1870s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The mussels clear the water causing it to warm more than normal, in turn
  encouraging growth of algae.
Mussels and clams are in abundance, although some poor families make do with
No such thing as zebra mussels back then, or any concern about water pollution,
Corals use the calcite carbonate form while oysters, mussels etc use aragonite.
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