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The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Byssus \Bys"sus\, n.; pl. E. Byssuses; L. Byssi.[L. byssus fine flax, fine linen or cotton, Gr. by`ssos .] [1913 Webster] 1. A cloth of exceedingly fine texture, used by the ancients. It is disputed whether it was of cotton, linen, or silk. [Written also byss and byssin.] [1913 Webster] 2. (Zool.) 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. [1913 Webster] 3. (Bot.) An obsolete name for certain fungi composed of slender threads. [1913 Webster] 4. Asbestus. [1913 Webster]