noun, often attributive \ˈfish\

: a cold-blooded animal that lives in water, breathes with gills, and usually has fins and scales

: the meat of a fish eaten as food

plural fish or fish·es

Full Definition of FISH

a :  an aquatic animal —usually used in combination <starfish> <cuttlefish>
b :  any of numerous cold-blooded strictly aquatic craniate vertebrates that include the bony fishes and usually the cartilaginous and jawless fishes and that have typically an elongated somewhat spindle-shaped body terminating in a broad caudal fin, limbs in the form of fins when present at all, and a 2-chambered heart by which blood is sent through thoracic gills to be oxygenated
:  the flesh of fish used as food
a :  a person who is caught or is wanted (as in a criminal investigation)
b :  fellow, person <an odd fish>
c :  sucker 5a
:  something that resembles a fish: as
a plural capitalized :  pisces 1; also :  pisces 2a
b :  torpedo 2b
fish·less \ˈfish-ləs\ adjective
fish·like \-ˌlīk\ adjective
fish out of water
:  a person who is in an unnatural or uncomfortable sphere or situation
fish to fry
:  concerns or interests to pursue —usually used with other
neither fish nor fowl
:  one that does not belong to a particular class or category

Examples of FISH

  1. We're having fish for dinner.
  2. <he's rather an odd fish>

Illustration of FISH

Origin of FISH

Middle English, from Old English fisc; akin to Old High German fisc fish, Latin piscis
First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Fishes Terms

char, chum, ichthyology, smelt, tetra, turbot



: to catch or try to catch fish

: to catch or try to catch fish in (a river, stream, etc.)

: to search for something by feeling : to use your hand to try to find something

Full Definition of FISH

intransitive verb
:  to attempt to catch fish
:  to seek something by roundabout means <fishing for a compliment>
a :  to search for something underwater <fish for pearls>
b :  to engage in a search by groping or feeling <fishing around in her purse for her keys>
transitive verb
a :  to try to catch fish in
b :  to fish with :  use (as a boat, net, or bait) in fishing
a :  to go fishing for <fish salmon>
b :  to pull or draw as if fishing <fished the ball from under the car> <fish wires through a conduit>
fish·abil·i·ty \ˌfi-shə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
fish·able \ˈfi-shə-bəl\ adjective
fish or cut bait
:  to make a choice between alternatives

Examples of FISH

  1. We spent the afternoon fishing for trout.
  2. They fished the stream all morning.
  3. She was fishing around in her purse for her keys.

First Known Use of FISH

before 12th century


biographical name \ˈfish\

Definition of FISH

Hamilton 1808–1893 Am. statesman
FISH Defined for Kids


noun \ˈfish\
plural fish or fish·es

Definition of FISH for Kids

:  any of a large group of vertebrate animals that live in water, breathe with gills, and usually have fins and scales
:  an animal that lives in water —usually used in combination <starfish> <shellfish>
fish·like \-ˌlīk\ adjective



Definition of FISH for Kids

:  to catch or try to catch fish
:  to search for something by or as if by feeling <I fished in my purse for change.>
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