ang·​ler·​fish ˈaŋ-glər-ˌfish How to pronounce anglerfish (audio)
: any of several pediculate fishes (such as the goosefishes)
especially : monkfish

Examples of anglerfish in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Advertisement His work was displayed at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, inspiring discussion about why the anglerfish keeps washing up in California. Kaila Yu, Los Angeles Times, 31 July 2023 Targeting them eventually became commercially unviable, and the name monkfish was relegated to another species, the anglerfish. Dag Goering, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 June 2023 Female anglerfish like this one let someone else do the work, relying on colonies of light-emitting bacteria to give their lure its distinctive glow. Valerie Ross, Discover Magazine, 25 Mar. 2019 Meanwhile, the tiny male deep-sea anglerfish, which can be one-sixtieth the size of a female, clings to his partner’s belly with pincerlike teeth. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 18 Feb. 2023 Pietsch said anglerfish might have evolved this bizarre mating strategy to survive in the depths where food is scarce. Kate Golembiewski, CNN, 14 Feb. 2023 The iconic image of the anglerfish—a deep-sea creature sporting jagged, translucent teeth and a luminescent lure to bait prey—represents only the females of this bunch. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Feb. 2020 Sometimes a male anglerfish will only hang on long enough to release his sperm and fertilize the female’s eggs. Kate Golembiewski, CNN, 14 Feb. 2023 Cordelia Abrams, 49, a Bostonian life coach dressed as an anglerfish at the breakfast, has been attending these events for almost a decade. Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times, 28 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'anglerfish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


angler + fish entry 1; so called from the lure-like luminescent organ that extends from the tip of a modified dorsal fin in females

First Known Use

1834, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of anglerfish was in 1834

Dictionary Entries Near anglerfish

Cite this Entry

“Anglerfish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a bottom-dwelling marine fish that has a large flat head with parts that stick out and lure other fish within reach of its broad mouth

More from Merriam-Webster on anglerfish

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!