any of several edible, marine, bivalve mollusks of the family Ostreidae, having an irregularly shaped shell, occurring on the bottom or adhering to rocks or other objects in shallow water.
the oyster-shaped bit of dark meat in the front hollow of the side bone of a fowl.
Slang. a closemouthed or uncommunicative person, especially one who keeps secrets well.
something from which a person may extract or derive advantage: The world is my oyster.
verb (used without object)
to dredge for or otherwise take oysters.

1325–75; Middle English oistre < Middle French < Latin ostrea < Greek óstreon; see ostracize

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World English Dictionary
oyster (ˈɔɪstə)
1.  a.  any edible marine bivalve mollusc of the genus Ostrea, having a rough irregularly shaped shell and occurring on the sea bed, mostly in coastal waters
 b.  (as modifier): oyster farm; oyster knife
2.  any of various similar and related molluscs, such as the pearl oyster and the saddle oyster (Anomia ephippium)
3.  the oyster-shaped piece of dark meat in the hollow of the pelvic bone of a fowl
4.  something from which advantage, delight, profit, etc, may be derived: the world is his oyster
5.  informal a very uncommunicative person
6.  (intr) to dredge for, gather, or raise oysters
[C14 oistre, from Old French uistre, from Latin ostrea, from Greek ostreon; related to Greek osteon bone, ostrakon shell]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1357, from O.Fr. oistre (Fr. huître), from L. ostrea, pl. or fem. of ostreum "oyster," from Gk. ostreon, from PIE *ost- "bone" (see osseous). Related to Gk. ostrakon "hard shell" and to osteon "bone."
"Why then the world's mine Oyster, which I, with sword will open." [Shakespeare, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," II.ii.2]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see world is one's oyster.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Oyster pumps high pressure water to an onshore hydro-electric turbine to create
Therefore the first preparation was made for the oyster.
He says that he's intrigued by the oyster story and hopes to do follow-up
  research on the topic.
The oyster introduction might not bring disease or harm the ecosystem, but that
  is still a far cry from success.
Idioms & Phrases
Image for oyster
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