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noun \ˈfish\

Simple Definition of fish

  • : 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

Full Definition of fish

plural fish or fish·es

  1. 1 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

  2. 2 :  the flesh of fish used as food

  3. 3 a :  a person who is caught or is wanted (as in a criminal investigation) b :  fellow, person <an odd fish> c :  sucker 5a

  4. 4 :  something that resembles a fish: as a plural capitalized :  pisces 1; also :  pisces 2a b :  torpedo 2b

fish·less play \ˈfish-ləs\ adjective
fish·like play \-ˌlīk\ adjective
fish out of water
  1. :  a person who is in an unnatural or uncomfortable sphere or situation

fish to fry
  1. :  concerns or interests to pursue —usually used with other

neither fish nor fowl
  1. :  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




Simple Definition of fish

  • : 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

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to attempt to catch fish

  3. 2 :  to seek something by roundabout means <fishing for a compliment>

  4. 3 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>

  5. transitive verb
  6. 1 a :  to try to catch fish in b :  to fish with :  use (as a boat, net, or bait) in fishing

  7. 2 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 play \ˌfi-shə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
fish·able play \ˈfi-shə-bəl\ adjective
fish or cut bait
  1. :  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.

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of fish

before 12th century


biographical name \ˈfish\

Definition of Fish

  1. Hamilton 1808–1893 Am. statesman

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up fish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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