pl. bys′suses or bys′si
- a fine fabric, esp. a linen cloth, used by the ancients, as in Egypt for mummy wrapping
- Zool. a tuft of filaments, chemically similar to silk, secreted by various marine bivalves, esp. the mussels, and used to attach the mollusk to the substratum
Origin of byssusClassical Latin ; from Classical Greek byssos, fine linen or cotton ; from Sem: compare Akkadian b??, Classical Hebrew (language) buts
nounpl. bys·sus·es or bys·si
- Zoology A mass of strong, silky filaments by which certain bivalve mollusks, such as mussels, attach themselves to rocks and other fixed surfaces.
- A fine-textured linen of ancient times, used by the Egyptians for wrapping mummies.
Origin of byssusMiddle English bissus, linen cloth, from Latin, from Greek bussos, linen; akin to Sanskrit picu&hlowdot;, cotton (of Dravidian origin), or ultimately from Egyptian w’&dlowmac;, linen.
(usually uncountable, plural byssuses)
- An exceptionally fine and valuable fibre or cloth of ancient times. Originally used for fine flax and linens, its use was later extended to fine cottons, silks, and sea silk.
- The long fine silky filaments excreted by several mollusks (particularly Pinna nobilis) by which they attach themselves to the sea bed, and from which sea silk is manufactured.
- (mycology) The stipe or stem of some fungi which are particularly thin and thread-like.