co·​ry·​do·​ras ˌkȯr-ē-ˈdȯr-əs How to pronounce corydoras (audio)
plural corydoras
: any of a genus (Corydoras of the family Callichthyidae) of chiefly tropical South American catfish that are usually 1 ½ to 3 inches (3.8 to 7.6 centimeters) in length and include some (such as C. aeneus, C. metae, and C. paleatus) kept in aquariums
Huge aquarium tanks swarm and sparkle with fish. Some, such as neon tetras and bottom-snuffling corydoras, will be familiar to tropical fish hobbyists.Hank Burchard
… if you do have an under gravel filter, your betta should get along just fine with a small catfish, such as a corydoras catfish.Steve Dale

called also cory catfish

Word History


borrowed from New Latin, genus name, from Greek kóry "helmet" (probably of pre-Greek substratal origin) + New Latin -doras, perhaps erroneously for Greek thṓrax "breastplate, cuirass" — more at thorax

Note: The genus name Corydoras was introduced by the French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède (1756-1825) in Histoire naturelle des poissons, tome cinquième (Paris, An XI [1803]), p. 147. Lacépède thus describes the naming: "Le nom générique par lequel nous avons cru devoir la distinguer, indique la cuirasse et le casque qu'elle a reçus de la nature1 … [1Corys, en grec, signifie casque; et doras cuirasse]" ("The genus name by which we have thought it [the fish] should be distinguished denotes the breastplate and helmet that it has received from nature1 … [1Corys, in Greek, means helmet, and doras breastplate].") Though Lacépède clearly meant to cite the Greek word for "breastplate," he gives instead a nonexistent word doras, perhaps having confused thṓrax "breastplate" with dorá "skin, hide." Though he cites the word for "helmet" correctly, the stem of kórys is koryth-, and the correct form in a compound would have been korytho-.

First Known Use

1932, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of corydoras was in 1932

Dictionary Entries Near corydoras

Cite this Entry

“Corydoras.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

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