a. Any of several edible bivalve mollusks of the family Ostreidae, having a rough, irregularly shaped shell attached to the substrate in shallow marine waters. Oysters are widely cultivated for food.
b. Any of various similar or related bivalve mollusks, such as the pearl oyster.
2. An edible bit of muscle found in the hollow of the pelvic bone of a fowl.
a. A special delicacy.
b. Something from which benefits may be extracted.
4. Slang A close-mouthed person.
intr.v. oys·tered, oys·ter·ing, oys·ters
To gather, dredge for, or raise oysters.
[Middle English oistre, from Old French, from Latin ostreum, ostrea, from Greek ostreon; see ost- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.