noun (plural byssuses)
Etymology: From Hebrew bÅá, Aramaic bus via Greek " 'a very fine yellowish flax and the linen woven from it', Latin byssus " 'fine cotton or cotton stuff', 'silk' and via New Latin to 'sea silk'.
- 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.
- 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.
- The stipe or stem of some fungi which are particularly thin and thread-like.
Supplemental Details:Sponsor an extended definition for byssus for as little as $10 per month. Click here to contact us.