pi·​ra·​ru·​cu | \ pi-ˌrär-ə-ˈkü How to pronounce pirarucu (audio) \

Definition of pirarucu

: a large-scaled, predatory, freshwater fish (Arapaima gigas of the family Arapaimidae) of the rivers of northern South America that is an esteemed food fish, has a toothed tongue, and may reach a length of nearly 10 feet (3 meters) and a weight of over 300 pounds (136 kilograms) but is typically smaller

Note: The pirarucu has been placed especially formerly in the same family (Osteoglossidae) as the arowanas.

Examples of pirarucu in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Other criminals traffic everything from gold to the prized pirarucu fish, police said. Luciana Magalhaes, WSJ, 18 June 2022 The reason is that pirarucu share their habitat with piranha. The Economist, 17 Oct. 2019 Whether insights from pirarucu scales will percolate into materials science remains to be seen. The Economist, 17 Oct. 2019 The Brazilian sustainable luxury label Osklen (Katie Holmes is a fan) has a new superchic pirarucu weekend bag ($1,997) that has the look of an exotic but is in fact made from fish skins. Alison S. Cohn, New York Times, 28 June 2017

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

First Known Use of pirarucu

1840, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pirarucu

Portuguese, from Tupi pirawrukú, from pirá fish + urukú annatto

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The first known use of pirarucu was in 1840

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Pirani gauge



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Last Updated

2 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pirarucu.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pirarucu. Accessed 4 Jul. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pirarucu

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pirarucu


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