plural pi·ra·nhas or piranha
: any of various usually small South American characin fishes (genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus) that have very sharp teeth, often appear in schools, and include some that may attack and inflict dangerous wounds upon humans and large animals —called also caribe
Origin of PIRANHA
Portuguese, from Tupi pirã́ja, pirã́nʸa,
fish + ã́ja, ã́nʸa
First Known Use: 1861
Rhymes with PIRANHA
piranha noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
Any of several species of deep-bodied, carnivorous fishes in the genus Serrasalmus (family Characidae), abundant in rivers of eastern and central South America and noted for voracity. The red-bellied piranha (S. nattereri) grows to 2 ft (60 cm) long, but most species are smaller. Some species are silvery with an orange belly and throat; others are almost completely black. All have sharp, saw-edged teeth that close in a scissorlike bite. Traveling in groups, they usually prey on other fishes, but red-bellied piranhas occasionally converge on larger animals. Though generally scavengers, they are attracted to the scent of blood and can quickly reduce even a large animal to a skeleton.
Variants of PIRANHA
piranha or caribe
Seen & Heard
What made you want to look up piranha? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).