Definition of piranha
: any of various usually small South American characin fishes (genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus) that have very sharp teeth, often appear in schools, and include some that may attack and inflict dangerous wounds upon humans and large animals —called also caribe
Recent Examples of piranha from the Web
The best aspect of OIB’s production is the puppet design by Gabrielle Grafrath, who creates terrifically cartoonish piranha and a witty stylization of bodies being tempest-tossed.
Basketball free agency opened with the first minute of Saturday morning but even before that piranha frenzy began, the NBA already had won the offseason – again.
So there are going to be a fish balloon, a crab, a piranha and a shark that will be out there.
Get close to sharks and piranhas; dare him to touch a stingray, ball python, bearded dragon, or even an alligator.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'piranha.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of piranha
Portuguese, from Tupi pirã́ja, pirã́nʸa, from pirá fish + ã́ja, ã́nʸa tooth
First Known Use: 1861See Words from the same year
PIRANHA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of piranha for English Language Learners
: a small South American fish that has sharp teeth and that eats the flesh of animals
PIRANHA Defined for Kids
Definition of piranha for Students
: a small South American freshwater fish that has very sharp teeth, often occurs in groups, and may attack human beings and animals in the water
Seen and Heard
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