sil·​ver·​fish | \ ˈsil-vər-ˌfish How to pronounce silverfish (audio) \

Definition of silverfish

1 : any of various silvery fishes (such as a tarpon or silverside)
2 : any of various small wingless insects (order Thysanura) especially : one (Lepisma saccharina) found in houses and sometimes injurious especially to sized papers or starched clothes

Examples of silverfish in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Many of the skeletons were mixed up, their labels faded or eaten by silverfish, and their origins were only traced through century-old correspondence and fading ledgers. David Maurice Smith, Smithsonian, "A 42,000-Year-Old Man Finally Goes Home," 23 Aug. 2019 Currently, mackerel, silverfish, sardines and whitefish are some of the offerings. Halley Bondy, NBC News, "How Oona Tempest broke gender barriers to become one of America's top sushi chefs," 20 Aug. 2019 Their menu of choice includes ants, silverfish, beetle larvae, spiders, and even roaches. Margeaux Sippell,, "It has 30 legs and hides in your basement in summer. Don’t kill it," 26 June 2018 Even nonhumans, such as bookworms (so called) and silverfish, that lurk around inside them are given consideration. John Glassie, New York Times, "Codices, Termites and Floral Notes: The Wondrous Life of ‘The Library’," 1 June 2018 The earliest known insect fossil is a 385-million-year-old wingless creature that looks like a silverfish. Lucas Joel, Scientific American, "Mysterious Insect Fossil Gap Explained," 1 May 2018 Compounds found in the feces of some bugs – including roaches like Periplaneta americana and silverfishes like Lepisma saccharina – can produce allergic reactions in some people, and even cause asthma. Prayan Pokharel, Smithsonian, "How Insect Poop Could Solve All Our Problems," 17 Aug. 2017 These are the Jose Gourmet varieties that Kolender loves, plus his tips on serving them: These small silverfish come bathed in red pepper, carrot, piri-piri chiles, cloves, and laurel. Karen Palmer, Bon Appetit, "The Best Ways to Serve Tinned Fish," 23 Oct. 2017 Both like it moist, but silverfish prefer cool places, while firebrats, as their name suggests, go for warmth. Ellen Nibali,, "Garden Q&A: Emerald ash borer," 4 May 2017

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

1703, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of silverfish was in 1703

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Cite this Entry

“Silverfish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce silverfish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of silverfish

: a small silver-colored insect that does not have wings and that lives inside houses

More from Merriam-Webster on silverfish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with silverfish Encyclopedia article about silverfish

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