saw·​fish | \ ˈsȯ-ˌfish How to pronounce sawfish (audio) \

Definition of sawfish

: any of a family (Pristidae) of large elongate rays that resemble sharks but have a long flattened snout with a row of serrate structures along each edge and that live in tropical and subtropical shallow seas and in or near the mouths of rivers

Examples of sawfish in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The sea animals have similar chainsaw-like mouths to another ocean fish, known as the sawfish, though they aren’t at all related. Kate Baggaley, Popular Science, "Scientists discover two new shark species with chainsaw-like noses," 20 Mar. 2020 The numbers of sawfish in the ocean have declined dramatically over the years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "A man could get a year in prison and a $50,000 fine for killing an endangered sawfish," 4 Nov. 2019 Smalltooth sawfish are typically found in shallow, coastal waters, the NOAA says on its website, and in the United States they are found only off the Florida coast. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "A man could get a year in prison and a $50,000 fine for killing an endangered sawfish," 4 Nov. 2019 It's even been seen in sharks and rays that are in the care of humans, including sawfish, blacktip sharks, leopard sharks and several other types. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "VIRGIN BIRTH! Stingray gives birth to 'Darth Vader' after cloning herself in scientific phenomenon," 30 Aug. 2018 Smalltooth sawfish are related to sharks and were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 2003. Saryn Chorney,, "National Oceanic Administration and Shark Tagging Program Issues Statement About 'Sexy Shark Wrangler' Amid Backlash," 21 May 2018 Pence joined Sudal and watched him catch a 13-foot smalltooth sawfish. Fox News, "Shark wrangler catches 12-foot hammerhead off Florida beach, gets more attention for his abs," 10 May 2018 Similarly, a study published earlier this year found that more than half of the freshwater sawfish sampled in Western Australia sported scars inflicted by freshwater crocodiles. National Geographic, "Alligators Attack and Eat Sharks, Study Confirms," 20 Sep. 2017 Ceebu jen, a hearty fish stew, is the national dish, and sawfish — once plentiful but now rare — grace bank notes. Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, "China’s Appetite Pushes Fisheries to the Brink," 30 Apr. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of sawfish

1635, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sawfish

Time Traveler for sawfish

Time Traveler

The first known use of sawfish was in 1635

See more words from the same year

Statistics for sawfish

Cite this Entry

“Sawfish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on sawfish Encyclopedia article about sawfish

Comments on sawfish

What made you want to look up sawfish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!