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

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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

Naegeli also takes some time to feed the catfish and bass circulating at the corner of the pond. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Turtle Strapped With a GoPro Is the Cinematographer to Watch Underwater Right Now for the Turtle’s-Eye View," 18 June 2019 Ramsay will find and harvest ingredients himself to come up with his own version of local dishes, like venison shepherd’s pie in Hawaii, sweet-and-sour catfish soup in Laos, and braised goat leg in New Zealand. Shay Spence, PEOPLE.com, "Get a Sneak Peek of Gordon Ramsay's New Around-the-World Cooking Show and Magazine," 1 July 2019 The sandwich shop — open 24 hours — attracted everyone from locals to A-Listers, with menu standouts like a fried shirmp salad and catfish po-boy. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Gene's Po-Boys, New Orleans Favorite, Will Close Next Month," 26 June 2019 Dredge the catfish fillets on each side with the cornmeal mixture, shaking off the excess. ExpressNews.com, "Recipe: Braunda Moody Smith’s Tomato Gravy with Catfish," 12 June 2019 The top states with the most catfish victims were California (2,105), Texas (1,238), Florida (1,191), New York (782), Pennsylvania (577), Washington (493), Virginia (480), Michigan (461), Illinois (463), North Carolina (432). Johnny Diaz, sun-sentinel.com, "Suckers for love? Many Floridians snookered by 'catfishing’," 7 June 2019 But You, and I was taken to this wonderful fried catfish restaurant, The Taylor Grocery. Louis Cheslaw, Condé Nast Traveler, "Rupert Thomson Had The Worst Two Days of His Life in the Amazon," 13 July 2018 The Ohio & Erie Canal pond is giving up a few catfish and rainbow trout. D'arcy Egan, cleveland.com, "If you aren’t catching walleye on Lake Erie, you aren’t trying: June 14 Fishing Report," 14 June 2019 Residents reported waves of dead fish, including large, hearty species such as catfish and gar washing up in droves and creating an almost unbearable smell. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al.com, "Wastewater spill wipes out 175,000 fish north of Birmingham," 14 June 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.

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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

19 Jul 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 How to pronounce catfish (audio) \

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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