Definition of limpet in English:



  • 1A marine mollusc which has a shallow conical shell and a broad muscular foot, found clinging tightly to rocks.

    • ‘In coastal areas, they eat mussels, barnacles, and limpets.’
    • ‘There is a gap of several tens of millions of years between the Middle Permian when the last Metoptomatids lived, and the Middle Triassic when the true limpets appear.’
    • ‘Lottiid and especially fissurelid limpets, neither of which feed predominately on macroalgae, also have given rise to large-bodied taxa in certain temperate oceans.’
    • ‘Barnacles are crustaceans like crabs and shrimps but, because of their appearance, until the 19th century they were thought to be molluscs like limpets and whelks.’
    • ‘Mussels and limpets are their primary food, but Black Oystercatchers prey on a wide range of shellfish and other creatures found along the rocky shore.’
    • ‘Two thirds along things change, there are some scattered rocks covered in barnacles, limpets, mussels and seaweed.’
    • ‘Some species of limpets have been shown to spend their entire lives within a few cm of their home scars, while others can move upwards of 1 m during a single tidal cycle.’
    • ‘Two species of limpets, previously unrecorded for the West Point area, have also been found during this study.’
    • ‘While Pisaster has a very broad diet that includes barnacles, limpets, snails, and chitons, mussels are its preferred prey.’
    • ‘Modern species thrive under intense herbivory from snails, chitons, and limpets, and this has been suggested as one reason for their success.’
    • ‘Slipper limpets have also made their way across the Atlantic, taking over areas off the coast of the British Isles and Northern Europe.’
    • ‘In particular, they noted that modem patelloid limpets have segmented scars due to bundling of the large retractor muscle.’
    • ‘The ‘lock-and-key’ fit of homing limpets may have more to do with resistance to dislodgment than with desiccation.’
    • ‘Entering the water from the shore, the first animal we spot may well be a mollusc such as a limpet or dog-whelk.’
    • ‘Many of the taxa that apparently diverged in the Paleozoic now are limpets and retain little information about the morphologies of their coiled ancestors.’
    • ‘Secondary gills are found in Ancylids, which are freshwater limpets adapted to life in fast-flowing streams.’
    • ‘Brains of limpets and abalones are much simpler than brains of garden snails and slugs in histological differentiation.’
    • ‘The sand was dotted with saucer - sized jellyfish, rocks and pools are squidgy with jelly buttons encrusted with limpets, barnacles and winkles and are seedbeds for mussels.’
    • ‘The shape of a limpet's shell has a great deal to do with whether the animal remains securely attached to its rock or is ripped off and thrown onto dry land or into the waiting tentacles of a hungry sea anemone.’
    • ‘It seems that as limpets creep across rocks, eating algae, they also eat chalk.’
    1. 1.1Used in comparisons to refer to people and things that cling tightly.
      ‘the couples on the floor were clinging to each other like limpets’


Old English lempedu, from medieval Latin lampreda limpet, lamprey.