catfish

noun
cat·fish | \ˈkat-ˌfish \

Definition of catfish 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

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

catfish

verb
cat·fish
catfished; catfishing; catfishes

Definition of catfish (Entry 2 of 2)

1 intransitive : to fish for catfish … Bob was catfishing off a floating Ohio River dock near Eight Mile Road east of Cincinnati one early summer evening …Kentucky Happy Hunting Ground

2 transitive : to deceive (someone) by creating a false personal profile online "They never actually met. She was an online thing. They'd been talking for over a year. We were all pretty sure she was catfishing him, but he was convinced she was legit and that they were in love."— R. L. Naquin "Heather" stopped messaging me abruptly several months after we started talking. She was a grown woman, and I never lied about how young I was. Even so, I've never been quite sure which one of us was being catfished.— Vanessa Vitiello Uruhart — see also catfish entry 1 sense 2

Illustration of catfish

Illustration of catfish

Noun

catfish 1

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from catfish

Verb

catfishing noun
… this novel is timely due to recent high-profile examples of "catfishing"—where an individual creates a false online identity, often with deceptive or malicious romantic goals. — Ryan F. Paulsen

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.

Examples of catfish in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Cod and catfish, shrimp, crab cakes, salmon and desserts. Rasputin Todd, Cincinnati.com, "Find a fish fry near you," 13 Feb. 2018 Like a catfish trolling the bottom of the riverbed for food, Winnie snatched any morsel that fell on the floor. Lauren Palmer, Curbed, "When a dog is not just part of the family, but part of the house," 15 June 2018 Lake Livingston — Guide Simon Cosper reported a good catfish bite around schooling shad. Bink Grimes, Houston Chronicle, "Outdoors report: April 12," 11 Apr. 2018 Drift the lake with crickets for plenty of bluegills along with a few shellcrackers, warmouth and catfish. Mark Blythe, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Central Florida fishing forecast: July 15," 14 July 2018 In this 2,400-person town, about 15 miles east of Jonesboro, catfish are a familiar sight—whether in ponds or in the nearby St. Francis River, says Brenda Hutcheson, a town historian, retired teacher and longtime member of the city council. Ross Dellenger, SI.com, "The Never-Before-Told Story of Kelly Orgeron, Colorful Wife of LSU's Colorful Head Coach," 2 July 2018 Although most rafts are used from late March to early May to target walleyes, some are in the river through summer to take advantage of the white bass run as well as catfish. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "They love fishing, so they set cabins afloat: Wolf River rafts are 'home' to some anglers," 20 June 2018 Recently six men sieving it for an hour with a 100-foot net came up with only two dozen four-inch creatures that elsewhere would be called crappies and catfish. New York Times, "Nearly Eradicated in Humans, the Guinea Worm Finds New Victims: Dogs," 18 June 2018 In the meantime, the black headwater catfish and silvery Mexican tetras will have the 3.5 million gallon pool all to themselves. John Maccormack, San Antonio Express-News, "Rash of earthquakes prompts fear of oil boom in Balmorhea," 15 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of catfish

Noun

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1871, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near catfish

catfall

cat family

catfight

catfish

catfit

catfoot

cat-foot

Statistics for catfish

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for catfish

The first known use of catfish was in 1612

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More Definitions for catfish

catfish

noun
cat·fish | \ˈkat-ˌfish \

Kids Definition of catfish

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

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