fish

noun, often attributive
\ ˈfish How to pronounce fish (audio) \
plural fish or fishes

Definition of fish

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : an aquatic animal usually used in combination starfishcuttlefish
b : any of numerous cold-blooded strictly aquatic craniate vertebrates that include the bony fishes and usually the cartilaginous and jawless fishes and that have typically an elongated somewhat spindle-shaped body terminating in a broad caudal (see caudal sense 2) fin, limbs in the form of fins when present at all, and a 2-chambered heart by which blood is sent through thoracic gills to be oxygenated freshwater fish tropical fish
2 : the flesh of fish used as food We're having fish for dinner.
3a : a person who is caught or is wanted (as in a criminal investigation)
b : fellow, person an odd fish
c : sucker sense 5a felt sorry for the poor fish
4 : something that resembles a fish: such as
a Fish or Fishes plural : pisces sense 1 also : pisces sense 2a
b : torpedo sense 1b The submarine's fish hit the freighter.
fish out of water
: a person who is in an unnatural or uncomfortable sphere or situation The country boy felt like a fish out of water in the big city.
fish to fry
: concerns or interests to pursue usually used with other can't deal with that problem now; we've got other fish to fry right now
neither fish nor fowl
: one that does not belong to a particular class or category The movie is neither fish nor fowl—it's not really a comedy, but it's too light-hearted to be called a drama.

fish

verb
fished; fishing; fishes

Definition of fish (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to attempt to catch fish
2 : to seek something by roundabout means fishing for a compliment
3a : to search for something underwater fish for pearls
b : to engage in a search by groping or feeling fishing around in her purse for her keys

transitive verb

1a : to try to catch fish in
b : to fish with : use (something, such as a boat, a net, or bait) in fishing
2a : to go fishing for fish salmon
b : to pull or draw as if fishing fished the ball from under the car fish wires through a conduit
fish or cut bait
: to make a choice between alternatives

Fish

biographical name
\ ˈfish How to pronounce Fish (audio) \

Definition of Fish (Entry 3 of 3)

Hamilton 1808–1893 American statesman

Illustration of fish

Illustration of fish

Noun

fish 1b: 1 mandible, 2 nasal opening, 3 eye, 4 cheek, 5 operculum, 6 dorsal fins, 7 lateral line, 8 caudal fin, 9 scales, 10 anal fin, 11 anus, 12 pectoral fin, 13 pelvic fin, 14 maxilla, 15 premaxilla, 16 upper jaw

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from fish

Noun

fishless \ ˈfish-​ləs How to pronounce fishless (audio) \ adjective
fishlike \ ˈfish-​ˌlīk How to pronounce fishlike (audio) \ adjective

Verb

fishability \ ˌfi-​shə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce fishability (audio) \ noun
fishable \ ˈfi-​shə-​bəl How to pronounce fishable (audio) \ adjective

Examples of fish in a Sentence

Noun

We're having fish for dinner. he's rather an odd fish

Verb

We spent the afternoon fishing for trout. They fished the stream all morning. She was fishing around in her purse for her keys.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sloths now join hummingbirds, caterpillars, spiders, and a variety of fish as some of the animals that researchers are actively learning from. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "This Robotic Sloth Is Purposely Slow," 30 May 2019 In 2017, Hong Kong officials discovered 7.2 tons of tusks — valued at $9 million and representing more than 700 dead elephants — hidden under boxes of frozen fish in a shipping container. Sandi Doughton, The Seattle Times, "Sam Wasser pours his intense passion for protecting wildlife into research and catching poachers," 21 May 2019 In those four minutes the bruised boatmen collect 19 of the fish. Richard Adams Carey, WSJ, "‘Overrun’ Review: Too Many Fish to Fry," 12 May 2019 Not every minute of every superhero story has to be about saving the world, or about an infinite number of CGI fish. Noel Murray, The Verge, "This weekend, stream a different version of Aquaman from home," 21 Dec. 2018 But most populations of animals, like particular herds, or schools of fish, have seen declining numbers. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The Arctic has lost 2.6 million reindeer over the past 20 years," 11 Dec. 2018 More than 100 tons of dead fish have washed up on the shores of southwest Florida as a result of a natural disaster known as red tide. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Florida’s Red Tide is Killing Hundreds of Sea Animals," 16 Aug. 2018 Nearly 1,000 more are food products, including vegetables like cabbage, kale, carrots and beets and hundreds of types of fish. New York Times, "Trade War With China in Aisle 12," 12 July 2018 And the chemicals are known to bioaccumulate, meaning they are absorbed into the tissue of fish and accumulate over time. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Hawaii to ban sunscreen that damages coral," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This jacket is 100 percent waterproof and made from things like fishing nets. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Rain Jackets for Keeping Dry," 8 Mar. 2019 So Huggins, a 56-year-old heavy equipment operator in Nashville, fished the check out that day in April 2017 and cashed it. Peter Whoriskey, courant.com, "Unsolicited checks can be a lifeline and an albatross," 2 July 2018 Despite mid-afternoon storms on Saturday, firefighters from Charlotte, Lake Norman and Mooresville searched tirelessly for the men who were believed to have gone fishing Friday night and were supposed to return the boat by midnight. Tina Terry, ajc, "Uncle and nephew killed in boating accident on North Carolina lake," 2 July 2018 Children 4-8 will be allowed to fish from 9 a.m.-noon at both locations, with kids 9-15 allowed to catch stocked fish and panfish from 1-4 p.m. The derbies are free and trout, catfish and panfish are plentiful. cleveland.com, "D'Arcy Egan fishing report for May 3: Walleye biting, steelhead hanging around," 3 May 2018 According to the lawsuit, his guests took pictures with the flag, fished and boated in the lake and Zanial did not receive any complaint on the day. Sofia Lotto Persio, Newsweek, "Man Referred to FBI after His Malaysian Flag Was Mistaken for ISIS-Inspired Star-Spangled Banner Sues for Discrimination," 21 Mar. 2018 This pond brands have to fish in is small and only getting more crowded, which explains why so many digitally-native brands turn to old-school retail methods like opening stores or buying billboards. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Why so many hip startups advertise with snail mail," 1 Nov. 2018 Admittedly, there is something tacky, if not heartless, about fishing in such a manner. Charles Passy, WSJ, "From Tackle Box to Bento Box, New Japanese Spot Casts Different Approach to Dining," 9 Oct. 2018 But family members tell the Los Angeles Times that 39-year-old Steven Ray Cruze Jr. lived with his parents in San Gabriel and sometimes slept outside on a hammock after fishing at night in Santa Monica. Fox News, "Family: Man killed under Santa Monica Pier wasn't homeless," 21 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fish.' 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 fish

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for fish

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English fisc; akin to Old High German fisc fish, Latin piscis

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Statistics for fish

Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fish

The first known use of fish was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for fish

fish

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a cold-blooded animal that lives in water, breathes with gills, and usually has fins and scales
: the meat of a fish eaten as food

fish

verb

English Language Learners Definition of fish (Entry 2 of 2)

: to catch or try to catch fish
: to catch or try to catch fish in (a river, stream, etc.)
: to search for something by feeling : to use your hand to try to find something

fish

noun
\ ˈfish How to pronounce fish (audio) \
plural fish or fishes

Kids Definition of fish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of a large group of vertebrate animals that live in water, breathe with gills, and usually have fins and scales
2 : an animal that lives in water usually used in combination starfishshellfish

Other Words from fish

fishlike \ -​ˌlīk \ adjective

fish

verb
fished; fishing

Kids Definition of fish (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to catch or try to catch fish
2 : to search for something by or as if by feeling I fished in my purse for change.

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More from Merriam-Webster on fish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fish

Spanish Central: Translation of fish

Nglish: Translation of fish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fish for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fish

Comments on fish

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