Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several edible bivalve mollusks of the family Ostreidae, especially of the genera Crassostrea and Ostrea, that live chiefly in shallow marine waters and have a rough, irregularly shaped shell.
  • n. Any of various similar or related bivalve mollusks, such as the pearl oyster.
  • n. An edible bit of muscle found in the hollow of the pelvic bone of a fowl.
  • n. A special delicacy.
  • n. Something from which benefits may be extracted.
  • n. Slang A close-mouthed person.
  • intransitive v. To gather, dredge for, or raise oysters.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any marine bivalve mollusk of the Family Ostreidae, usually found adhering to rocks or other fixed objects in shallow water along the seacoasts, or in brackish water in the mouth of rivers.
  • n. A name popularly given to the delicate morsel of dark meat contained in a small cavity of the bone on each side of the lower part of the back of a fowl.
  • n. A pale beige color tinted with grey or pink, like that of an oyster.
  • n. A person who keeps secrets and private information to him- or herself.
  • adj. Of a pale beige colour tinted with grey or pink, like that of an oyster.
  • v. To fish for oysters.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any marine bivalve mollusk of the genus Ostrea. They are usually found adhering to rocks or other fixed objects in shallow water along the seacoasts, or in brackish water in the mouth of rivers. The common European oyster (Ostrea edulis), and the American oyster (Ostrea Virginiana), are the most important species.
  • n. A name popularly given to the delicate morsel contained in a small cavity of the bone on each side of the lower part of the back of a fowl.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To engage in oyster-fishing; take oysters in any way.
  • n. An edible bivalve mollusk of the family Ostreidæ, such as Ostrea edulis, the common species of Europe, and O. virginica, that of the Atlantic coast of the United States.
  • n. One of many other bivalves of the same order, but of a different family. Thus, the pearl-oyster belongs to the Aviculidæ.
  • n. The oyster-shaped bit of dark meat in the front hollow of the side-bone of a turkey or similar bird.
  • n. Figuratively, some profit or advantage which one may seize and hold.
  • n. Among packers, steamed oysters packed in hermetically sealed cans: a trade-name.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a small muscle on each side of the back of a fowl
  • n. edible body of any of numerous oysters
  • n. marine mollusks having a rough irregular shell; found on the sea bed mostly in coastal waters
  • v. gather oysters, dig oysters

Etymologies

Middle English oistre, from Old French, from Latin ostreum, ostrea, from Greek ostreon.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English ostre, from Latin ostrea; reinforced or superseded in Middle English by Anglo-Norman oistre, from Old French oistre, uistre (modern French huître), also from Latin ostrea, from Ancient Greek ὄστρεον. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In the same way that there is big difference between typing the word oyster and actually swallowing one, I am not suggesting that you swallow the idea that guardian angels are real.

    The Sacred Promise

  • Tom Robbins 'line floats into my mind: "Eating an oyster is like French-kissing a mermaid."

    The American Oyster Paradise

  • Otherwise known as the Eastern, Gulf or Bluepoints, this variety of oyster is most commonly found along the Atlantic Seaboard of the U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico.

    Oysters Come Back in Vogue

  • In the U.S., the most widely grown oyster is the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica), which is farmed down the East Coast and Chesapeake Bay.

    Oysters Come Back in Vogue

  • If the oyster is cooked, the creaminess of an aged, oak Chardonnay will suffice, whereas if it is part of a wider recipe, such as game pie, opt for a meaty red.

    Oysters Come Back in Vogue

  • Chemical analyses confirmed that the bricks were fired from local clay and set in oyster-shell mortar - all copied in the reconstruction led by mason Jimmy Price, owner of Virginia Limeworks.

    Theorized Reconstruction of a 17th Century Jesuit Church in America

  • I would hope they exist in oyster's and I believe that they do.

    Your Right Hand Thief

  • What's interesting to me, oyster, is that the people telling you you're too sensitive are being just as defensive.

    Your Right Hand Thief

  • I brought oyster's "family" into it because I thought d-bb was allegedly inferring he was in oyster's family, and simply retorting snide comment for snide comment ...

    Your Right Hand Thief

  • With the puns, methinks oyster is suffering from Mad Cao Disease!

    Your Right Hand Thief

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Comments

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  • "Why, then the world's mine oyster,
    Which I with sword will open.
    Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor

    September 24, 2009

  • And that definition is why I've never been able to eat one of the other kinds.

    September 19, 2008

  • "Oyster - a gob of thick phlegm, spit by a consumptive man."
    - Francis Grose, 'The Vulgar Tongue'.

    September 18, 2008

  • Adorable things. See also religion.

    November 16, 2007

  • The first man gets the oyster, the second man gets the shell. (Attributed to Andrew Carnegie).

    November 8, 2007

  • A person who sprinkles his conversations with Yiddishisms. --Mensa word list winner 2006

    March 2, 2007