star·​fish | \ ˈstär-ˌfish How to pronounce starfish (audio) \

Definition of starfish

: any of a class (Asteroidea) of echinoderms that have a body of usually five arms radially arranged about a central disk and feed largely on mollusks (such as oysters)

called also sea star

Examples of starfish in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Summer accents might include seashells, sand and starfish. Deborah Hornblow,, "Lanterns Light Up The Garden," 18 June 2019 Prototypes for every animal body plan rapidly emerged, from sea snails to starfish, from insects to crustaceans. Quanta Magazine, "Where Animals Come From," 29 July 2014 Analysis revealed, in the Antarctic samples, the presence of animals including chinstrap penguins, Weddell seals and Perknaster aurantiacus, a type of starfish. The Economist, "Using sponges to census the ocean," 5 June 2019 The stylophorans' tiny, confusing bodies resembled a hybrid of primitive vertebrates and starfish. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "A 150-Year Old Weird Ancient Animal Mystery, Solved," 22 Feb. 2019 Bertrand Lefebvre of with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Laboratoire de Géologie in Lyon, France, discovered that the millennia-old mystery animal is, in fact, an echinoderm—from the same family as a starfish. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "A 150-Year Old Weird Ancient Animal Mystery, Solved," 22 Feb. 2019 Normally, the starfish contribute to the reef’s diversity by eating faster-growing coral species, which allow for slower-growing species to thrive. Isabella Kwai, New York Times, "A Voracious Starfish Is Destroying the Great Barrier Reef," 5 Jan. 2018 Time your visit to the hour before or after low tide to explore the beach’s tide pools, teeming with starfish, mollusks and hermit crabs. Rico Gagliano, WSJ, "3 Quick Escapes From Los Angeles," 1 Aug. 2018 Hundreds of feet below the ocean’s surface, some starfish make their own light. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "Starfish See Pretty Well in the Deep Ocean. By the Way, Starfish Have Eyes.," 7 Feb. 2018

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

1538, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for starfish

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for starfish

The first known use of starfish was in 1538

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More Definitions for starfish



English Language Learners Definition of starfish

: a sea animal that has five arms and that looks like a star


star·​fish | \ ˈstär-ˌfish How to pronounce starfish (audio) \

Kids Definition of starfish

: a sea animal that usually has five arms that spread out from a central disk and feeds mostly on mollusks

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More from Merriam-Webster on starfish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with starfish

Spanish Central: Translation of starfish

Nglish: Translation of starfish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of starfish for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about starfish

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