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

There will be food and beverage vendors offering items such as fish and chips, shepherd's pie, corned beef and Swiss, Irish poutine and more. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "Everything you need to know about Indy Irish Fest 2019," 9 Sep. 2019 Because who needs them, except for fish and the rest of us? John Archibald | Jarchibald@al.com, al, "The truth about Alabama austerity," 8 Sep. 2019 However, once the basin is complete with wetlands, fish and a healthy ecosystem, Vega believes the environment will be conducive to more sight-seeing opportunities like this. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "Kuykendahl basin to blend nature with flood reduction efforts," 6 Sep. 2019 Because microplastics are so small they are easily consumed by fish and other sea creatures which, consequently, absorb the same toxins the plastics have soaked up. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Virtually Invisible. That’s a Problem," 5 Sep. 2019 The leech uses its teeth to bite and siphon blood from its prey - usually frogs, fish and tadpoles, along with the occasional human, Phillips said. oregonlive, "New species of bloodsucking leech with 3 jaws, 59 teeth found in Maryland," 2 Sep. 2019 They’ve been found in fish in the oceans and raining down from the sky in the Pyrenees mountains straddling France and Spain. San Diego Union-Tribune, "New research targets microplastics detected in Lake Tahoe," 2 Sep. 2019 The tanks and ponds within that forest began to boil; the fishes and the tortoises in them all perished. Girish Shahane, Quartz India, "The Amazon fires have a 3,000-year-old parallel in the Indian epic Mahabharata," 30 Aug. 2019 Coral reefs play a key role in marine ecosystems, providing a habitat for fish and serving as protection against storms and extreme weather events. Hillary Leung, Time, "A Giant Raft of Volcanic Rock From an Underwater Eruption Could Help Revive the Great Barrier Reef," 26 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Embedded in most of the sargassum are the easily visible pieces of trash: shampoo bottles, fishing gear, thick hard containers or thin soft bags amongst many other types of plastic. Arwa Damon, CNN, "Microplastics discovered in 'extreme' concentrations in the North Atlantic," 19 Aug. 2019 This forces many penguins to compete for food, and puts them in danger of getting accidentally captured by fishing nets. Elissa Nuñez, National Geographic, "Penguins," 16 Aug. 2019 Its second follows model Adut Akech to a facility in Cameroon that collects fishing nets to be made into Econyl. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Prada’s Re-Nylon Project Turns Your Favorite Backpack Into a Sustainable Accessory," 5 Aug. 2019 And an 18-year-old right whale was entangled in fishing gear near Quebec, with a rope cutting into its head and over its blowhole. Amanda Coletta, Anchorage Daily News, "North Atlantic right whales are migrating in new ways - and dying in the process," 2 Aug. 2019 Bicycles, fishing gear, and canoes are popular finds. Melissa Rolland, courant.com, "One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure," 24 July 2019 Then comes the Net Guard, a space lined with fishing nets protecting visitors from both pollution and potentially predatory ocean creatures. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "A New Pop-Up Exhibit in NYC Immerses Visitors in a Deep Sea Experience," 1 June 2019 Other threats include fishing nets, oil and gas development, pollution, and even being hit by ships — a whale was hit and killed by a ship in 2009. Janet Mcconnaughey, The Seattle Times, "NOAA: Bryde’s whales in Gulf of Mexico are endangered," 12 Apr. 2019 Climate change, entanglement in fishing nets, plastic pollution, underwater noise and ship strikes threaten our ocean giants. Alastair Gale, WSJ, "Japan to Resume Commercial Whale Hunting," 25 Dec. 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

12 Sep 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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