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 Blue crabs are one of the most recognizable varieties of shellfish. Kimberly Holland, Southern Living, "5 Things You Didn't Know About Blue Crab," 30 June 2020 The sanitary and shelf-stable shellfish has been in high demand, Chief Financial Officer Chris Bruno wrote in an impassioned letter, but tariffs have sucked away profits and the 28-person company may fold by the end of the year. Lydia Depillis, ProPublica, "Oyster, Air Fryer and Bicycle Companies Say Their Goods Are Essential to Fighting Coronavirus So They Can Get Tariff Relief," 25 June 2020 The dust is also to blame for blooms of toxic algae, sometimes called red tides, which can be deadly for fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds. Leada Gore |, al, "Why Alabama could see vibrant red sunrises, sunsets in the coming week," 18 June 2020 Under the new guidelines, manufacturers cannot substitute ingredients to the eight common allergens: cow's milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, wheat, soy and fish. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Relaxed labeling rules by feds raise fears among people with food allergies," 5 June 2020 Seagrasses and other underwater plants packed the bay’s shallows, stilling and smoothing the surrounding water, leaving it clear and clean for baby fish, crabs, and shellfish to populate. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "In the Chesapeake Bay, saving seagrasses can fight ocean acidification," 2 June 2020 The nine most common foods that cause allergies in children through age 17 — from most to least common — are peanuts, milk, shellfish, tree nuts, eggs, fish, wheat, soy and sesame. Alice Callahan, New York Times, "The New Rules of Food Allergy Prevention, Testing and Diagnosis," 17 Apr. 2020 Many studies supported that conclusion, finding methylmercury spikes in shellfish, bay sludge, and even hundreds of umbilical cords from babies delivered during the time. Joshua Sokoloski, Science | AAAS, "Mysterious chemical found in dead cat's brain reopens debate over mercury poisoning disaster," 24 Mar. 2020 Amazing fish, shellfish, tube worms and other life forms live in these zones. Suzanne O'connell, The Conversation, "Curious Kids: How deep is the ocean?," 7 Oct. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of shellfish

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shellfish

Time Traveler for shellfish

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for shellfish

Last Updated

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shellfish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shellfish


How to pronounce shellfish (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!