lam·​prey | \ ˈlam-prē How to pronounce lamprey (audio) , -ˌprā \
plural lampreys

Definition of lamprey

: any of a family (Petromyzontidae) of eel-shaped freshwater or anadromous jawless fishes that include those cyclostomes having well-developed eyes and a large disk-shaped suctorial mouth armed with horny teeth

called also lamprey eel

Examples of lamprey in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This rise of the natives is, ironically, tied to the wave after wave of invasive species that made their way into the lakes in the decades after the lamprey and alewife infestations., 2 Sep. 2021 The remarkable result is that today the top of the Lake Huron food chain more closely resembles its natural self than anytime since the lamprey and alewives invaded in the mid-1900s., 2 Sep. 2021 This allowed researchers to concoct a lamprey-specific poison that was pumped into key rivers and streams. Dan Egan,, 2 Sep. 2021 Biologists had called the lamprey-as-ancestor theory into question before, but the problem rested on the sparse fossil record of lampreys. Philip Kiefer, Popular Science, 11 Mar. 2021 The divers spotted an animal known as the vampire fish (a pacific lamprey), Sacramento CBS reports. Michael Hollan, Fox News, 21 May 2021 The lamprey stars in one of this book’s many fascinating vignettes of violence and mayhem—or the threat of it. James Romm, WSJ, 12 Mar. 2021 The lamprey is one of a handful of animals that exist on the boundary between vertebrates and our invertebrate forebears. Philip Kiefer, Popular Science, 11 Mar. 2021 The agency informed residents that the lamprey is a local fish and entirely natural. Fox News, 26 June 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lamprey.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of lamprey

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lamprey

Middle English, from Anglo-French lampreie, from Medieval Latin lampreda

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The first known use of lamprey was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Lamprey.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for lamprey


lam·​prey | \ ˈlam-prē How to pronounce lamprey (audio) \
plural lampreys

Kids Definition of lamprey

: a water animal that looks like an eel but has a sucking mouth with no jaws

More from Merriam-Webster on lamprey

Nglish: Translation of lamprey for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about lamprey


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