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
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

This small member of the catfish family can be found in small to large rivers with moderate to strong currents and substrates of sand, gravel or rock. Michigan Wildlife Council, Detroit Free Press, "Polishing a gem: Plan aims for St. Clair-Detroit River system improvements," 10 July 2018 Miso lime butter and hot honey crown from-scratch waffles, with or without a fried chicken thigh cutlet or maybe a bone-in fried catfish. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "New Mass Ave. restaurants serve macarons, mac and cheese, brisket nachos, farm-to-table," 4 June 2018 Lake Livingston is known for its white bass, but the lake also contains perch, crappie and catfish. Dale Blasingame, San Antonio Express-News, "The 8 best family-friendly Texas state parks," 11 June 2018 Among its potential suggestions: open season on walleye, bass and catfish, a permit system for whale-watching and spending millions on habitat restoration. Evan Bush, The Seattle Times, "Draft recommendations for orca recovery include permit system for whale-watching, millions in funding," 24 Oct. 2018 American catfish, top, with its Vietnamese cousin, the pangasius, below. Benjamin Parkin, WSJ, "Catfish Gets Tangled in a Small-Fry Trade War," 21 Sep. 2018 Use crickets and redworms for panfish along with a few catfish. Mark Blythe, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Central Florida fishing forecast: June 24," 28 June 2018 At a second lake on the property plans call for removing the pickerel, carp and bull fish and stocking it with catfish, bass and crappie. Carrie Napoleon, Post-Tribune, "Sinking a boat, intentionally: Volunteers establish fish habitat in Griffith lake," 7 May 2018 Rather than feasting on, say, a plate of catfish in the years before his death, Burial 7/I might have spooned up calorie-rich porridge, a mix of cereals and goat’s milk. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "When Farmers and Foragers First Met," 24 Oct. 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

15 Feb 2019

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

English Language Learners Definition of catfish

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

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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More from Merriam-Webster on catfish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with catfish

Spanish Central: Translation of catfish

Nglish: Translation of catfish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about catfish

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