shell·​fish | \ ˈshel-ˌfish How to pronounce shellfish (audio) \

Definition of shellfish

: an aquatic invertebrate animal with a shell especially : an edible mollusk or crustacean

Examples of shellfish in a Sentence

lobsters, crabs, and other shellfish

Recent Examples on the Web

Seven farms drive the region’s oyster production, one of the most famous being Maison de l’Ostréa, which produces 200 tons of shellfish per year. Lane Nieset, Vogue, "After Marrakech, Go to Oualidia, the Montauk of Morocco," 30 Jan. 2019 The most common allergies kids leave behind are those to milk, egg, wheat, and soy, whereas reactions to shellfish, sesame, tree nuts, and peanuts are more likely to be lifelong. Jessica Migala, Woman's Day, "How to Keep Your Kids Safe From Food Allergies," 19 Nov. 2018 Microplastics have been found in shellfish, left behind after the filter feeders draw in and expel contaminated water. Jack Fisher, The Seattle Times, "Group screens and cleans sand near Oregon’s Haystack Rock," 20 Aug. 2018 Italian Market mainstay Anastasi Seafood (Ninth and Washington) also grew out a fish market to become a bar-restaurant with an emphasis on shellfish. Michael Klein,, "Seafood ideas in Philly, without shelling out," 15 Feb. 2018 Many restaurants here, within a few miles of an incredible bounty of seafood, include shellfish imported from Holland or Ireland on their menus. Tom Downey, WSJ, "A Spanish Food and Wine Region Comes Alive Again," 6 Dec. 2018 Just 32% of consumers aged 18 to 34 recently bought canned fish or shellfish, compared with 45% of those 55 years old and older, according to market-research firm Mintel. Annie Gasparro, WSJ, "The Trouble With Tuna: ‘A Lot of Millennials Don’t Even Own Can Openers’," 2 Dec. 2018 During a surge in the mussel population in 2004, there were reports of dogs growing sick and dying after eating the shellfish. Tim Prudente,, "Explosion of false dark mussels revives hopes for clearer waters and concern for dogs in Anne Arundel County," 11 July 2018 Members of the royal family are also not allowed to eat shellfish while traveling for royal visits, due to the high risk of food poisoning associated with the dish. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Has to Cut a Food from Her Diet When She Travels as a Royal," 24 June 2018

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for shellfish

Last Updated

1 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for shellfish

The first known use of shellfish was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of shellfish

: an animal (such as a crab or an oyster) that has a hard outer shell and that lives in water


shell·​fish | \ ˈshel-ˌfish How to pronounce shellfish (audio) \
plural shellfish

Kids Definition of shellfish

: an invertebrate animal (as a clam or lobster) that has a hard outer shell and lives in water

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More from Merriam-Webster on shellfish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shellfish

Spanish Central: Translation of shellfish

Nglish: Translation of shellfish for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about shellfish

Comments on shellfish

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