nounpl. 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 Sanskrit picuh 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.