fish

noun, often attributive
\ ˈfish How to pronounce fish (audio) \
plural fish or fishes

Definition of fish

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : an aquatic animal usually used in combination starfishcuttlefish
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 (see caudal sense 2) 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 freshwater fish tropical fish
2 : the flesh of fish used as food We're having fish for dinner.
3a : a person who is caught or is wanted (as in a criminal investigation)
b : fellow, person an odd fish
c : sucker sense 5a felt sorry for the poor fish
4 : something that resembles a fish: such as
a Fish or Fishes plural : pisces sense 1 also : pisces sense 2a
b : torpedo sense 1b The submarine's fish hit the freighter.
fish out of water
: a person who is in an unnatural or uncomfortable sphere or situation The country boy felt like a fish out of water in the big city.
fish to fry
: concerns or interests to pursue usually used with other can't deal with that problem now; we've got other fish to fry right now
neither fish nor fowl
: one that does not belong to a particular class or category The movie is neither fish nor fowl—it's not really a comedy, but it's too light-hearted to be called a drama.

fish

verb
fished; fishing; fishes

Definition of fish (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to attempt to catch fish
2 : to seek something by roundabout means fishing for a compliment
3a : 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

1a : to try to catch fish in
b : to fish with : use (something, such as a boat, a net, or bait) in fishing
2a : 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 or cut bait
: to make a choice between alternatives

Fish

biographical name
\ ˈfish How to pronounce Fish (audio) \

Definition of Fish (Entry 3 of 3)

Hamilton 1808–1893 American statesman

Illustration of fish

Illustration of fish

Noun

fish 1b: 1 mandible, 2 nasal opening, 3 eye, 4 cheek, 5 operculum, 6 dorsal fins, 7 lateral line, 8 caudal fin, 9 scales, 10 anal fin, 11 anus, 12 pectoral fin, 13 pelvic fin, 14 maxilla, 15 premaxilla, 16 upper jaw

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from fish

Noun

fishless \ ˈfish-​ləs How to pronounce fishless (audio) \ adjective
fishlike \ ˈfish-​ˌlīk How to pronounce fishlike (audio) \ adjective

Verb

fishability \ ˌfi-​shə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce fishability (audio) \ noun
fishable \ ˈfi-​shə-​bəl How to pronounce fishable (audio) \ adjective

Examples of fish in a Sentence

Noun

We're having fish for dinner. he's rather an odd fish

Verb

We spent the afternoon fishing for trout. They fished the stream all morning. She was fishing around in her purse for her keys.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Unsurprisingly, the chemicals have turned up in a variety of wildlife species, including fish, bald eagles and mink. Michael Casey, The Seattle Times, "EPA decision soon on chemical compounds tied to health risks," 12 Feb. 2019 New Yorkers have long cultivated a taste for smoked fish, as in the nova salmon that accompanies a bagel and cream cheese. Charles Passy, WSJ, "New York’s Famous Smoked Salmon Maker Wants a Big Brooklyn Expansion," 7 Feb. 2019 Scuba dive here and expect dozens of species of fish, sharks, stingrays, coral, and more. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 19 Best Places to Travel in 2019," 10 Jan. 2019 For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Substation Curaçao offers mini-submarine tours traveling up to 1,000 feet below the surface of the sea, where coral, fish, and shipwrecks can be spotted (and eventually, sunlight all but disappears). Kaitlin Menza, Town & Country, "The Best Things to Do, Eat, and See in Curaçao," 8 Jan. 2019 In 2016, a developer named Brian Kane hacked his Alexa device to speak through the animatronic singing fish, and now the product is real, official, and available for pre-order. Dami Lee, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Gadgets," 30 Dec. 2018 The post-Atkins decade saw the rise of good fats, a nonscientific subclass of fats that includes the unsaturated fats in avocado, fish, and coconut oil. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "How low-fat dairy came to rule the US — and why that’s changing.," 20 Dec. 2018 Serve fish over rice; top with salsa and sprinkle with green parts of scallions. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Lime Tilapia With Citrus-Avocado Salsa," 19 Dec. 2018 Cutting out high-mercury fish: tuna, shark and swordfish. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Executive chef Josh Feathers, a native of East Tennessee who has fished the region’s streams and hunted its deer, presides over the main lodge’s Three Sisters restaurant, where the menu and setting skew a bit more formal. Mark Rozzo, Town & Country, "Introducing Blackberry Mountain, the Idyllic New Resort from Blackberry Farm," 11 Feb. 2019 According The Eagle, a newspaper covering Texas A&M and its surrounds, the body of water is stocked with fish, which the public can fish for on a catch-and-release basis. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "George H.W. Bush To Be Buried at His Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas," 4 Dec. 2018 Snowbird is a fiercely independent person who hunts and fishes on her own. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "‘Alaskan Bush People' Cast: How Well Do You Know the Brown Family?," 23 Sep. 2018 From tackle to how to fish certain local spots in Tennessee, learn mechanical aspects of bass fishing that will help you become a better fisherman. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pro Fishing Seminar on July 10th," 14 June 2018 Small jig/plastic combinations, crankbaits and in-line spinners fished on ultra-light spinning gear will draw redbreast strikes. Shannon Tompkins Staff Writer, San Antonio Express-News, "June spawn signals peak in Texas sunfish action," 7 June 2018 Anglers have been catching very good numbers of catfish in 2-3 feet of water around cove shorelines using shrimp and worms fished on the bottom. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star, kansascity, "Fishing report: The angling is good, from reports across the region | The Kansas City Star," 23 May 2018 At the time, he was obsessed with trains, but that changed when his grandfather Ludvik Ogmundsson took him fishing on a boat, sparking an interest in and appreciation for ships. Erin Gabriel, CNN, "Boy with autism builds world's largest Lego Titanic replica," 16 Apr. 2018 Like Rist, a virtuoso tyer, a surprising percentage of fly-tyers have no idea how to fish and no intention of ever casting their prized lures to a salmon. Franz Lidz, Smithsonian, "The Great Feather Heist," 21 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fish

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for fish

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English fisc; akin to Old High German fisc fish, Latin piscis

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Learn More about fish

Statistics for fish

Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fish

The first known use of fish was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for fish

fish

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

fish

verb

English Language Learners Definition of fish (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

fish

noun
\ ˈfish How to pronounce fish (audio) \
plural fish or fishes

Kids Definition of fish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of a large group of vertebrate animals that live in water, breathe with gills, and usually have fins and scales
2 : an animal that lives in water usually used in combination starfishshellfish

Other Words from fish

fishlike \ -​ˌlīk \ adjective

fish

verb
fished; fishing

Kids Definition of fish (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on fish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fish

Spanish Central: Translation of fish

Nglish: Translation of fish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fish for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fish

Comments on fish

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