1. A cloth of exceedingly fine texture, used by the ancients. It is disputed whether it was of cotton, linen, or silk.

alternative forms: byss and byssin.

2. (Science: marine biology) 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.

3. (Science: botany) An obsolete name for certain fungi composed of slender threads.

Origin: L. Byssus fine flax, fine linen or cotton, gr.

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