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 combinationstarfishcuttlefish
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 othercan'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 There was fish and beer as Maddison happened to be celebrating his birthday. Thuc Nhi Nguyen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Around the world with ‘The Beard Bros,’ the former USC volleyball players now on ‘Amazing Race’," 11 Nov. 2020 The only thing that could relax his mind, if only briefly, was spearfishing and free-diving, which brought him back into the moment of battle, but this time his opponents were fish. San Diego Union-Tribune, "On Veterans Day, three local war vets reflect on service, sacrifice," 11 Nov. 2020 Not many of us were thinking all that much about finding love — there were bigger fish to fry. Elizabeth Gulino, refinery29.com, "These 3 Zodiac Signs Are About To Have The Best Cuffing Season Ever," 8 Nov. 2020 On Monday, dinner could be silky steamed fish, fragrant with soy and ginger. The Bon Appétit Staff, Bon Appétit, "45 Healthy Dinner Recipes for Low-Stress Weeknights," 29 Oct. 2020 Great white sharks are the world's largest predatory fish, according to the World Wildlife Federation, and are known to rip chunks out of their prey, which are swallowed whole. Jack Guy, CNN, "Massive, 50-year-old great white shark dubbed 'Queen of the Ocean' caught and tagged," 5 Oct. 2020 Salmon is the most valuable commercial fish managed by the state of Alaska and Bristol Bay is Alaska’s richest commercial fishery. Anchorage Daily News, "Candidate Q&A: Alaska House District 24 — Sue Levi," 3 Oct. 2020 The opening applies to state and federal waters adjacent to Alabama; the limit is two fish per angler with a 16-inch total length minimum. al, "Snapper fishing still on for Oct. 10-12; officials urge caution," 2 Oct. 2020 However, the most desirable subjects were fish and game plates and accessories, all highly decorative and impressive. Brenda Yenke, cleveland, "Setting the table with flair: Yenke Peddler antiques," 1 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Dora Maillet of Saulnierville, a village where Indigenous people have come to fish for lobster, said people in the area were shaken by the rising violence. Dan Bilefsky, Star Tribune, "Canada's Indigenous lobstermen under attack from commercial fishermen," 20 Oct. 2020 The 1930s and early 1940s were a good time to fish for sardines off California. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, "Old Seaweed Reveals Secret of Monterey Sardine History," 1 Oct. 2020 People come from around the world to fish for all five species of wild Alaska salmon, hunt everything from mountain goats to brown bears, and experience primeval wild country. Bjorn Dihle, Outdoor Life, "The Forest Service Announced it Will Axe Roadless Rule Protections in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest," 28 Sep. 2020 Once Gila trout is reintroduced to Christopher Creek it will be added to the list of recreational water bodies where anglers can fish for the trout. Anton L. Delgado, The Arizona Republic, "Scouts, anglers join forces to improve conditions for native trout at Christopher Creek," 16 Nov. 2020 Gracious, Resentful Cook: Don’t blame your fiance’s son for not biting the hook during your attempt to fish for gratitude and a compliment. Washington Post, "Ask Amy: First cancer hits, then heartbreak follows," 28 Oct. 2020 Dear Gracious: Don’t blame your fiance’s son for not biting the hook during your attempt to fish for gratitude and a compliment. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Man’s girlfriend leaves him after his recovery from cancer," 28 Oct. 2020 Dear Gracious: Don’t blame your fiance’s son for not biting the hook during your attempt to fish for gratitude and a compliment. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "First cancer hits, then heartbreak follows," 28 Oct. 2020 Dora Maillet of Saulnierville, a village where Indigenous people have come to fish for lobster, said people in the area were shaken by the rising violence. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "In ‘Lobster War,’ Indigenous Canadians Face Attacks by Fishermen," 20 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for fish

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fish

Last Updated

18 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fish. Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for fish

fish

noun
How to pronounce Fish (audio)

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 combinationstarfishshellfish

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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Comments on fish

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