remora was our Word of the Day on 12/16/2008. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
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."
Origin and Etymology of remora
Late Latin, from Latin, delay, from remorari to delay, from re- + morari to delay — more at moratorium
First Known Use: 1567
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