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n. pl. bys·sus·es or bys·si (bĭs′ī′)
1. Zoology A mass of strong, silky filaments by which certain bivalve mollusks, such as mussels, attach themselves to rocks and other fixed surfaces.
2. A fine-textured linen of ancient times, used by the Egyptians for wrapping mummies.

[Middle English bissus, linen cloth, from Latin, from Greek bussos, linen; akin to Sanskrit picuḥ, cotton (of Dravidian origin), or ultimately from Egyptian w'ḏ, linen.]

bys′sal (bĭs′əl) adj.


n, pl byssuses or byssi (ˈbɪsaɪ)
(Zoology) 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]


(ˈbɪs əs)

n., pl. bys•sus•es, bys•si (ˈbɪs aɪ)
1. 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.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek býssos a fine cotton or linen < Semitic]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.byssus - tuft of strong filaments by which e.g. a mussel makes itself fast to a fixed surfacebyssus - tuft of strong filaments by which e.g. a mussel makes itself fast to a fixed surface
fiber, fibre - a slender and greatly elongated substance capable of being spun into yarn
References in classic literature ?
He did not carry away more than ten at each plunge, for he was obliged to pull them from the bank to which they adhered by means of their strong byssus.
It also found that the byssus or external filaments of P.
Majlis, Brigitte Khan and Anne Sicken 2014 Showing a bit of mussel: An unfamiliar and intriguing type of shiny gold coloured thread discovered in certain Iban Dayak textiles turns out to be shellfish-derived byssus fibre.
Yet even those who can't be bothered to look up "byssal" (relating to the byssus, or silky filaments with which bivalves and mollusks cling to rocks) or "stour" (strong or powerful) cannot miss the poem's thick consonance, its glut of sibilants--byssal, mussels, scapular, cruxes, bassinet, clamshell, saddlebags--that bind these images together for eight rapid-fire lines before the softer Latinates of "mantle," "vulnerable," and "indomitable" emerge to clear the air and let in some light.
Unlike barnacles, which cement themselves tightly to the surfaces of rocks, piers or ships, the clamlike bivalves called mussels dangle more loosely from these surfaces, attached by a collection of fine filaments known as byssus threads.
Instead, the mussel anchors itself to a firm surface with a group of filaments called byssal threads or byssus, also known as the "beard" that has to be yanked off the shell before you start cooking.
The beds are formed of live mussels and dead shells, mixed with sand and mussel waste, and are all held together by byssus threads (the hair-like "beards" by which the mussels attach to the seabed).
5 to 2 cm length) of mussels were used as test animal and their attachment with the help of byssus thread was used as toxic criterion.
Distribution and relationships of trace metals in soft tissue, byssus and shells of Mytilus edulis trossulus from the southern Baltic.
Mussels live in colonies, attaching themselves to rocks, piers, and oysters by filaments known as a byssus, or beard.
The extensive byssus threads and dead mussel valves with persistent byssus, build and stabilize the up to 3 m high structures recognized as bioherms or mussel reefs (Wildish et al.