any of various bivalve mollusks, specif.,
- any of a sometimes edible saltwater family (Mytilidae) that anchors to rocks, ships, etc. by byssus threads
- any of a freshwater family (Unionidae) that is large-sized, may produce pearls, and is used to make buttons
Origin of musselMiddle English muscle from OE, akin to Old High German muscula, both from Vulgar Latin an unverified form muscula, for Classical Latin musculus, mussel, muscle
- Any of various marine bivalve mollusks that attach to hard surfaces in intertidal areas with byssal threads, especially the edible members of the family Mytilidae and in particular Mytilus edulis, a blue-black species of the North Atlantic Ocean, raised commercially for food.
- Any of numerous freshwater bivalve mollusks of the order Unionoida that burrow in the sand or mud of rivers, streams, and ponds.
- Any of several similar bivalve mollusks, such as the zebra mussel.
Origin of musselAlteration ( possibly influenced by Dutch mossel ) of Middle English muscle from Old English muscelle from Medieval Latin mūscula from Latin mūsculus sea mussel ; see muscle .
From Latin mÅ«sculus (“mussel or muscle"), literally "little mouse".