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


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

External features of a bony fish.—© Merriam-Webster Inc.

Any of more than 30,000 species of predominantly cold-blooded vertebrates found worldwide in fresh and salt water. Living species range from the primitive lampreys and hagfishes through the cartilaginous sharks, skates, and rays to the abundant and diverse bony fishes. Species range in length from 0.4 in. (10 mm) to more than 60 ft (20 m). The body is generally tapered at both ends. Most species that inhabit surface or midwater regions are streamlined or are flattened side to side; most bottom dwellers are flattened top to bottom. Tropical species are often brightly coloured. Most species have paired fins and skin covered with either bony or toothlike scales. Fishes generally respire through gills. Most bony fishes have a swim bladder, a gas-filled organ used to adjust swimming depth. Most species lay eggs, which may be fertilized externally or internally. Fishes first appeared more than 450 million years ago.


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