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

Josh’s love for and ease in the water infuses his work, and his ability to get close to fish on breath-hold allows him to capture unique angles and content. National Geographic, "Josh Humbert," 17 June 2019 Shrimp, crabs and fish simply swim to saltier areas. Washington Post, "Louisiana governor: Upriver floods a disaster for fisheries," 17 June 2019 All except Barrett had previously caught fish on a Lake Michigan charter. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Lake Michigan charter outing provides fresh fish and perspectives," 15 June 2019 Chandler said the state warning to the public remains in effect to avoid contact with any remaining pockets of foam on the river or eating fish caught in the lower Farmington. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "State dredging of Farmington River spill pollution possible, official says," 14 June 2019 Most of that harvest ⁠— 607,000 fish ⁠— was in Prince William Sound. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "Early numbers show strong start for commercial sockeye salmon harvest in Prince William Sound," 14 June 2019 Then, while Kim Jong Un was a child, his father hired a sushi chef to come over from Japan to slice up fish for the royal family. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "The Early Life of Kim Jong Un," 14 June 2019 The leader of the procession also balances a fishing rod over its shoulder, whose catch is ironically tuna cans instead of actual fish. Lillian Dondero, ELLE Decor, "What to Expect at This Year's Politically-Charged Whitney Biennial," 14 June 2019 As dusk fell on the Upper East Side, gala guests mingled around the sea lion pool at the Central Park Zoo, where keepers demonstrated the animals’ fish-catching skills. Vogue, "Black-Tie Guests Met at the Sea Lion Pool for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Annual Gala," 14 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

All of that brought our group of six anglers together Tuesday to fish with Fox, who owns and operates Fox Brothers Charter Service. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Lake Michigan charter outing provides fresh fish and perspectives," 15 June 2019 Following this meager schooling, García continued to fish the rivers and estuaries and the open waters of the Pacific Ocean, to help support his family. Charles David Kleymeyer, Smithsonian, "Meet Juan García Salazar, the Man Who Championed Black Identity in Ecuador," 14 June 2019 Filipinos are permitted to fish there but routinely complain of harassment by Chinese law-enforcement and fishing vessels. Niharika Mandhana, WSJ, "Philippines Demands Answers From China After Boat Sunk in Hit-and-Run," 13 June 2019 People that want to fish or to watch the river are encouraged to stay away from the banks’ edge because the high water levels can lead to instability. Carina Julig, The Denver Post, "Flood risks bring warnings for those living, playing near rivers in southwestern Colorado," 10 June 2019 Our modern lifestyle doesn't help: People have to take time off their jobs now to fish or harvest fruits and vegetables. Sandy M. Fernandez, Woman's Day, "How Three Women Are Pioneering to End Hunger in the U.S.," 14 Nov. 2018 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

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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Learn More about fish

Statistics for fish

Last Updated

20 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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