Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

shark

play
noun \ˈshärk\

Definition of shark

  1. :  any of numerous mostly marine cartilaginous fishes of medium to large size that have a fusiform body, lateral branchial clefts, and a tough usually dull gray skin roughened by minute tubercles and are typically active predators sometimes dangerous to humans

sharklike

play \ˈshärk-ˌlīk\ adjective


What does jump the shark mean?

— jump the shark
: to undergo a significant change for the worse that decisively marks the point at which a period of success, excellence, or popularity ends (as for a TV series) and an unrecoverable period of decline begins

The phrase jump the shark derives from a 1977 episode of the American TV series “Happy Days” (1974–1984) in which the program's most popular character, Fonzie, jumped over a shark while waterskiing in his trademark leather jacket. Some years later that episode came to be widely identified as marking the beginning of the iconic show's decline.

<Nearly all TV shows ever produced have jumped the shark eventually. Such is the nature of television's creative conundrum. — Monica Collins, Boston Herald, 9 Jan. 2000>

<Most TV series take three seasons to jump the shark, but in the theater it can happen in 20 minutes … — Bob Verini, Daily Variety, 18 Sept. 2009>

<But in its headlong embrace of capitalism and corporate tie-ins, “Sex and the City” may have finally jumped the shark. — Laura Compton, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 May 2010>

<Not everyone agrees when Picasso's art jumped the shark. — Jeffry Cudlin, Washington Post, 27 Feb. 2011>

Illustration of shark

Origin and Etymology of shark

Middle English


First Known Use: 15th century


2

shark

noun

Definition of shark

  1. 1 :  a rapacious crafty person who takes advantage of others often through usury, extortion, or devious means <loan sharks>

  2. 2 :  one who excels greatly especially in a particular field



Origin and Etymology of shark

probably modification of German Schurke scoundrel


First Known Use: 1599


3

shark

verb

Definition of shark

  • transitive verb
    1. 1 archaic :  to gather hastily

    2. 2 archaic :  to obtain by some irregular means

    3. intransitive verb
    4. 1 archaic :  to practice fraud or trickery

    5. 2 archaic :  sneak



    1602

    First Known Use of shark

    1602

    Rhymes with shark


    SHARK Defined for Kids

    1

    shark

    play
    noun \ˈshärk\

    Definition of shark for Students

    1. :  a large usually gray saltwater fish that has sharp teeth and a skeleton of cartilage




    2

    shark

    play
    noun

    Definition of shark for Students

    1. :  a person who cheats others out of money





    Seen and Heard

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

    WORD OF THE DAY

    in the capacity or character of

    Get Word of the Day daily email!

    WORD GAMES

    Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

    fox-in-summer-forest

    Which of these is a synonym of inchoate?

    massive frightening experimental formless
    Name That Thing

    Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    SCRABBLE® Sprint

    Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

    TAKE THE QUIZ