catfish

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noun cat·fish \-ˌfish\

Definition of catfish

  1. 1 :  any of an order (Siluriformes) of chiefly freshwater stout-bodied scaleless bony fishes having long tactile barbels

  2. 2 :  a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes

catfish was our Word of the Day on 07/02/2014. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of catfish from the Web

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

Did You Know?

For centuries, a catfish was merely a type of fish with a distinctive face. Then, in 2010, Ariel Schulman released Catfish, a documentary about his brother Nev's experiences with a woman who pretended to be someone else online. (The movie was popular enough to spawn a television show by the same title.) In the documentary, the woman's husband explained the title with an anecdote about how fishermen transporting live cod used to put catfish in with the cod on long-haul shipments to keep the desirable cod active and alert until arrival. The man implied that his wife was like those catfish, keeping the lives of others fresh and interesting.

Illustration of catfish

First Known Use of catfish

1612


CATFISH Defined for English Language Learners

catfish

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noun

Definition of catfish for English Language Learners

  • : a type of fish that has a large head and long thin parts that look like a cat's whiskers around its mouth


CATFISH Defined for Kids

catfish

play
noun cat·fish \ˈkat-ˌfish\

Definition of catfish for Students

  1. :  a fish with a large head and feelers about the mouth



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