American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Zoology A mass of strong, silky filaments by which certain bivalve mollusks, such as mussels, attach themselves to rocks and other fixed surfaces.
- n. A fine-textured linen of ancient times, used by the Egyptians for wrapping mummies.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Among the ancients, originally, a fine yellowish flax, especially Indian and Egyptian, and the linen made from it, such as the Egyptian mummy-cloth; afterward, also, cotton and silk (the latter, before its origin was known, being taken for a kind of cotton).
- n. One of the byssi, a name formerly given by botanists to a heterogeneous collection of filamentous cryptogamic plants.
- n. In conchology, a long, delicate, lustrous, and silky bunch of filaments, secreted by the foot, and serving as a means of attachment to other Objects. It is developed in various dissimilar bivalve mollusks, especially by species of the families Mytilidæ, Pinnidæ, Aviculidæ, Limidæ, Arcidæ, Tridacnidæ, etc. That of the Pinna is capable of being woven. See
Pinna, and also cuts under Dreissenidæand Tridacnidæ.
- n. 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.
- n. The long fine silky filaments excreted by several mollusks (particularly Pinna nobilis) by which they attach themselves to the sea bed, from which sea silk is manufactured.
- n. The stipe or stem of some fungi which are particularly thin and thread-like.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A cloth of exceedingly fine texture, used by the ancients. It is disputed whether it was of cotton, linen, or silk.
- n. (Zoöl.) A tuft of long, tough filaments which are formed in a groove of the foot, and issue from between the valves of certain bivalve mollusks, as the Pinna and Mytilus, by which they attach themselves to rocks, etc.
- n. (Bot.) An obsolete name for certain fungi composed of slender threads.
- n. Asbestus.
- n. tuft of strong filaments by which e.g. a mussel makes itself fast to a fixed surface
- From New Latin byssus ("sea silk"), from Latin byssus ("fine cotton or cotton stuff, silk"), from Ancient Greek βύσσος ("a very fine yellowish flax and the linen woven from it"), from Hebrew בּוּץ (butz), Aramaic בּוש (bus). (Wiktionary)
- 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. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Mussels anchor themselves in the inter-tidal zone by means of a thatch of tough proteinaceous fibers called the byssus, or “beard.””
“These strategically placed threads form a bundle called the byssus, which tethers the mussel to its new home in much the same way that guy ropes hold down a tent.”
“The illustration shows a rare species, several specimens of which were found attached to the mooring-chain of a buoy by what is known as the "byssus," a bunch of tough fibres which passes through an hiatus in the margins of the valves.”
“Then comes a period of rest, obtained by using the long thread or 'byssus' (B) as a float, this thread being thrown out along the surface of the water.”
“In large part, moving food along the alimentary tract is a matter of smooth muscle functioning, and Pavlov decided to investigate the byssus retractor, the smooth muscle that Mytilus edulis, the common mussel, uses to close its shell.”
“In Ave byssus castitatis, up to the last line the words are in alphabetical order.”
“The byssus is unknown to us, but the stuffs of Lyons are more valuable.”
““Still assuming that I am an individual, and human, and not a madrepore of linked beans.” byssus.”
““And it was given her to wear a splendid, wholesome byssus, whose splendor shall be like to priceless gems.””
“Polar bear", for a guy whose growing up hormones were working overtime on his byssus and tache, and he never cared bout his becoming a hirsute.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘byssus’.
Another range of words from the intermediate to the advanced speller's level.
very comprehensive list
of molluscs,who does not like
calamari? hmm yum
100,000 species just in molluscs
List of words from phrontistery.info
"Luciferous Logolepsy is a collection of over 9,000 obscure English words. Though the definition of an 'English' word might seem to be straightforward, it is not. There exist so many adopted, deriv...
Oddments culled from my "main" lists that belong in a display cabinet of their own, plus sundry other curiosities. :-)
Words I've come across while reading and looked up in the dictionary.
Woven, knit and tatted fabrics. Other kinds of cloth, such as tapa and chamois are not included.
Looking for tweets for byssus.