rem·​o·​ra | \ ri-ˈmȯr-ə How to pronounce remora (audio) also ˈre-mə-rə \

Definition of remora

1 : any of a family (Echeneidae) of marine bony fishes that have the anterior dorsal fin modified into a suctorial disk on the head by means of which they adhere especially to other fishes

Illustration of remora

Illustration of remora

remora 1

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Also known as shark suckers or suckerfish, remoras are long, thin, dark fishes that are distributed throughout the world in warm seas. Ancient sailors believed remoras had the power to slow or even stop a ship by attaching themselves to it; the name remora, which means "delay" in Latin, arose from this ancient superstition. The poor remora’s reputation isn’t much better today. Even though remoras don’t harm their hosts, they are popularly thought of as unwanted guests who get a free ride and a free meal by way of the efforts of others. It is therefore common to see remora used metaphorically in such contexts as "hungry paparazzi who attach themselves like remoras to celebrities."

Examples of remora in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Researchers Brooke Flammang, Jeremy Goldbogen and their teams found that the remora’s choice location is key to hanging on. Rachael Lallensack, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Dec. 2020 The second group basically latches on to the first like remora on a shark. Gene Weingarten, Washington Post, 26 Oct. 2020 Alpina remains independent from BMW, but the relationship is sort of like the one between a remora and a shark. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 10 July 2020 This year, scientists tackled the sticky issue of creating strong underwater adhesives by mimicking the way remoras (also known as suckerfish) suction onto sharks. Danielle Hall, Smithsonian, 16 Dec. 2017 When a bigger fish attacks and eats prey, the remora will detach itself and feast on the remains once its host is done. National Geographic, 11 Aug. 2017 For example, remoras (also called suckerfish) literally stick to the sharks’ skin; other fish school with the sharks, coasting on their swimming drafts; and parasitic creatures feed on the animals, Dove said. Tia Ghose, Washington Post, 15 July 2017 Sounds like some folks will be glued to their screens like so many remoras. Des Bieler, The Denver Post, 16 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'remora.' 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 remora

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for remora

Late Latin, from Latin, delay, from remorari to delay, from re- + morari to delay — more at moratorium

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Cite this Entry

“Remora.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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