1 of 2


ˈshrimp How to pronounce shrimp (audio)
 especially Southern  ˈsrimp
plural shrimp or shrimps
: any of numerous mostly small and marine decapod crustaceans (suborders Dendrobranchiata and Pleocyemata) having a slender elongated body, a compressed abdomen, and a long spiny rostrum and including some (especially family Penaeidae) that are commercially important as food
also : a small crustacean (such as an amphipod or a branchiopod) resembling the true shrimp
usually disparaging : a very small or puny person or thing
shrimplike adjective
ˈshrim-pē How to pronounce shrimp (audio)


2 of 2


shrimped; shrimping; shrimps

intransitive verb

: to fish for or catch shrimp

Examples of shrimp in a Sentence

Noun He's a little shrimp of a boy. the boy was just a shrimp until his teens, when he had a growth spurt
Recent Examples on the Web
Pour the sauce over and gently toss with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the shrimp and avocado are thoroughly coated. Janelle Davis, CNN, 7 Feb. 2023 Brine shrimp are a critical food source for the aquaculture industry. Evan Bush, NBC News, 21 Jan. 2023 Brine shrimp are part of the foundation of the Great Salt Lake's food web. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 22 July 2022 The Mexican brunch restaurant is known for its breakfast stuffed poblano pepper, which is made with shrimp and melted cheese. Endia Fontanez, The Arizona Republic, 28 Jan. 2023 See all Example Sentences for shrimp 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shrimp.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English shrimpe; akin to Middle Low German schrempen to contract, wrinkle, Old Norse skorpna to shrivel up

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1808, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shrimp was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near shrimp

Cite this Entry

“Shrimp.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
plural shrimps or shrimp
: any of numerous small mostly marine shellfish that are crustaceans related to the lobsters, that have a long slender body, an abdomen that is very thin from side to side, and long legs, and that include some important as food
: a very small or unimportant person or thing
shrimplike adjective


2 of 2 verb
: to fish for or catch shrimps

More from Merriam-Webster on shrimp

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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