Definition of mussel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈməsəl/


Any of a number of bivalve mollusks with a brown or purplish-black shell.
  • A marine bivalve that uses byssus threads to anchor to a firm surface (family Mytilidae, order Mytiloidea), including the edible mussel (Mytilus edulis). A freshwater bivalve that typically lies on the bed of a river, some species forming small pearls (family Unionidae, order Unionoida)..
Example sentences
  • The shop also has a wide range of seafood including tiger prawns, mussels, sea bream and breaded crab claws.
  • Add the vegetables, watercress and shelled mussels and clams to this, season to taste and serve.
  • Extract the meat from most of the mussels and discard the shells.


Old English mus(c)le, superseded by forms from Middle Low German mussel, Middle Dutch mosscele; ultimately from late Latin muscula, from Latin musculus (see muscle).

  • muscle from Late Middle English:

    The ancient Romans saw a resemblance between a flexing muscle in the upper arm and the movements of a mouse. Latin musculus, from mus ‘mouse’, meant ‘little mouse’ and also ‘muscle’. It entered English through French in the 14th century. The edible mollusc the mussel (Old English) is the same word, and the accepted spellings of both words remained variable into the 19th century.

Words that rhyme with mussel

bustle, muscle, Russell, rustle, tussle

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mus·sel

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