catfish

noun
cat·​fish | \ ˈkat-ˌfish How to pronounce catfish (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 was where her father, Chief Turkey Tayac of the Piscataway Indian Nation, taught Yates and her five siblings how to skin eels,find worms in low marshes anduse catfish bones as fishing hooks. Rebecca Tan, Washington Post, "D.C. bill would honor 17th-century treaty by letting Native Americans fish for free," 27 Nov. 2019 Along the perimeter were dozens of vendors selling everything from whole lobsters to catfish balls with mango sauce. Alyson Krueger, New York Times, "New York’s Best Outdoor Food Fair? We May Have Found It," 22 Nov. 2019 There was nothing small about the duo of filets presented in the fried catfish dinner ($14.15). Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "Fried pork chops, top-notch greens shine at this Southern bistro in downtown Louisville," 20 Nov. 2019 Texas fishers can start casting their lines after more than 120,00 catfish were recently stocked at 19 Texas lakes, including four in Houston, as part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's (TPWD) Neighborhood Fishin' program. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "TPWD restocks Houston and Texas neighborhood lakes with thousands of catfish," 20 Nov. 2019 Also on the Friday menu: fried perch, catfish po’ boys and jerk-chicken egg rolls. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Big Daddy's BBQ and Soul Food is popping up at 29th and Villard," 15 Nov. 2019 Most menu items cost under or around $10 — an 8-wing dinner costs $8, while a large catfish dinner sets customers back $10. Lauren Saria, azcentral, "Iconic Chicago restaurant Harold's Chicken opens in Phoenix. Here's why it's a big deal," 22 Oct. 2019 Courtesy of Chauhan Ale & Masala House Dishes like catfish Goan curry, fried green tomato pakoras, and even a reimagined Daal Makhani made with local lentils, beans, collards, and Benton’s ham that sparked controversy. Fortune, "These Award-Winning Chefs Are Expressing Their Indian Heritage With Southern Food," 15 Sep. 2019 Add the catfish fillets, toss to coat evenly in the marinade, then cover with plastic wrap. Los Angeles Times, "Fried Jerked Catfish from Post & Beam," 9 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of catfish

Noun

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1871, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about catfish

Time Traveler for catfish

Time Traveler

The first known use of catfish was in 1612

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about catfish

Statistics for catfish

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Catfish.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/catfish?show=0&t=1403110479. Accessed 12 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for catfish

catfish

noun
How to pronounce catfish (audio)

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 How to pronounce catfish (audio) \

Kids Definition of catfish

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on catfish

What made you want to look up catfish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a period of high artistic development

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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