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

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 Several years ago, starfish succumbed to a wasting disease and vanished from tide pools. New York Times, "Orcas of the Pacific Northwest Are Starving and Disappearing," 9 July 2018 Kids can look for starfish, snails, and anemones in the tide pools that form among the rocks at the north end of the beach., "The 20 best beaches to visit in New England," 2 May 2018 NewsNearly wiped out by mystery illness, California starfish make... Peter Fimrite,, "Fight brewing over Privates Beach in Santa Cruz County, which charges $100 yearly fee," 12 July 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

14 Apr 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

Comments on starfish

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


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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