In a culinary sense, shellfish are edible aquatic invertebrates. They have shells but are not actually fish. They fall into two main groups: crustaceans and mollusks. Crustaceans have segmented bodies and many legs; they include crabs, crayfish, lobster, shrimp, and prawns. Mollusks have unsegmented bodies and (usually) shells; they include univalve ("single shelled") organisms such as abalone; bivalve ("double shelled") creatures like clams, oysters, and scallops; and cephalopods ("head-body") like octopus and squid.

KANJI: BAI kai (shellfish, shell)

ASCII Art Representation:

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Character Etymology:

Popularly understood to be a stylized pictograph of a cone-shaped shell with feelers protruding. However, older forms of this character reveal it to be a stylized pictograph of an exaggeratedly pointed bivalve.

Other Information:

Shells used to be used once as money and symbolized valueable items or assets. When this character exists as a radical or in compounds, it is generally used in such an extended sense.

A Listing of All On-Yomi and Kun-Yomi Readings:

on-yomi: BAI
kun-yomi: kai

English Definitions:

  1. BAI: shellfish.
  2. kai: shell.

Character Index Numbers:

New Nelson: 5766
Henshall: 90

Unicode Encoded Version:

Unicode Encoded Compound Examples:

貝殻 (kaigara): seashell.
貝柱 (kaibashira): shell ligament.
(hotategai): scallop.

 

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Shell"fish` (?), n. Zool.

Any aquatic animal whose external covering consists of a shell, either testaceous, as in oysters, clams, and other mollusks, or crustaceous, as in lobsters and crabs.

 

© Webster 1913.

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