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

  • n. Any of various tropical marine gastropod mollusks, especially of the genera Strombus and Cassis, having large, often brightly colored spiral shells and edible flesh.
  • n. The shell of one of these gastropod mollusks, used as an ornament, in making cameos, or as a horn.
  • n. Anatomy See concha.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A marine mollusc of the family Strombidae which lives in its own spiral shell.
  • n. The shell of this sea animal.
  • n. A musical instrument made from a large spiral seashell.
  • n. A machine (rather like a rotating pestle and mortar) used to develop the flavour and texture of chocolate by warming and grinding; a concher or concher machine.
  • v. To refine the flavour and texture of chocolate by warming and grinding, either in a traditional concher, or between rollers.
  • v. To play a conch seashell as a musical instrument, by blowing through a hole made close to the origin of the spiral.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A name applied to various marine univalve shells; esp. to those of the genus Strombus, which are of large size. Strombus gigas is the large pink West Indian conch. The large king, queen, and cameo conchs are of the genus Cassis. See cameo and cameo conch.
  • n. In works of art, the shell used by Tritons as a trumpet.
  • n. One of the white natives of the Bahama Islands or one of their descendants in the Florida Keys; -- so called from the commonness of the conch there, or because they use it for food.
  • n. See Concha, n.
  • n. The external ear. See Concha, n., 2.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A shell of any kind.
  • n. Specifically, a large marine shell, especially that of the Strombus gigas, sometimes called fountain-shell, from its use in gardens.
  • n. A spiral shell fabled to have been used by the Tritons as a trumpet, probably of the kind now constituting the genus Triton, and used as a musical instrument in the South Sea islands. Also conch-shell.
  • n. A trumpet in the form of a sea-shell. Also called Triton's-horn.
  • n. The external portion of the ear; the concha.
  • n. In architecture, the plain, ribless, concave surface of a vault or pendentive; the semidome of an apse; the apse itself. See apse. Also called concha.
  • n. [Also written conk, conck. konk.] One of the lower class of inhabitants of the Bahamas, and of the keys on the Florida reef: so named from their extensive use of the flesh from conchs as food.
  • n. One of an inferior class of white inhabitants of some parts of North Carolina.
  • n. In the cephalopod mollusks, the postembryonic shell: contrasted with protoconch or embryonal shell, and with shell, a term which loosely covers the entire external skeleton.
  • n. The whelk, Fulgur carica
  • n. the helmet-shell, Cassis.
  • n. In Roman antiquity, the name for various small vessels used for oil, salt, etc.
  • n. Same as conk.
  • n. Abbreviations of conchology.

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

  • n. any of various edible tropical marine gastropods of the genus Strombus having a brightly-colored spiral shell with large outer lip


Middle English conche, from Old French, from Latin concha, mussel, from Greek konkhē.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin concha from Ancient Greek κόγχη (konkhē, "mussel"). (Wiktionary)



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  • "To refine the flavour and texture of chocolate by warming and grinding, either in a traditional concher, or between rollers." --from the definitions.

    December 27, 2012

  • I'd heard it's pronounced one way when it's in the water, and the other way when it's out of the water. Of course I've also heard that when you hold one up to your ear, you can hear the ocean.

    March 4, 2011

  • There are two pronunciations included for this word, including the one this story considered incorrect. link.

    March 3, 2011