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Oysters are any of a number of distinct groups of bivalve molluscs which live in marine or brackish habitats. The valves are highly calcified. Some kinds of oyster are commonly consumed by humans, cooked or raw. These are considered an aphrodisiac. Others, such as pearl oysters, are not.
- When God made the oyster, he guaranteed his absolute economic and social security. He built the oyster a house, his shell, to shelter and protect him from his enemies... But when God made the Eagle, He declared, "The blue sky is the limit—build your own house!"… The Eagle, not the oyster, is the emblem of America.
- Author unknown; reported in Jacob M. Braude, Braude's Source Book for Speakers and Writers (1968), p. 14; Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
- It is unseasonable and unwholesome in all months that have not an R in their names to eat an oyster.
- Samuel Butler, Dyet's Dry Dinner (1599).
- 'Twere better to be born a stone
Of ruder shape, and feeling none,
Than with a tenderness like mine
And sensibilities so fine!
Ah, hapless wretch! condemn'd to dwell
Forever in my native shell,
Ordained to move when others please,
Not for my own content or ease;
But toss'd and buffeted about,
Now in the water and now out.
- William Cowper, The Poet, the Oyster and Sensitive Plant; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 575.
- Secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843), Stave I.
- "It's a wery remarkable circumstance, sir," said Sam, "that poverty and oysters always seem to go together."
- Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers (1836), Chapter XXII.
- I will not be sworn but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool.
- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing (1598-99), Act II, scene 3, line 20.
- An oyster may be crossed in love! Who says
A whale's a bird?—Ha! did you call my love?—
He's here! he's there! he's everywhere!
Ah me! he's nowhere!
- Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Critic, A Tragedy Rehearsed (1779), Act III, scene 1.
- He was a bold man that first eat an oyster.
- Jonathan Swift, Polite Conversation (c. 1738), Dialogue II.