star·​fish | \ˈstär-ˌfish \

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

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 Now my peeve: Laguna puts a lot of emphasis on those tide pools but closes its eyes to the shops in town that sell shells and starfish., "Protecting tide pools is critical but why not stop selling starfish and shells?," 3 July 2018 But unlike me, holding a notepad with one hand and clutching my stomach with the other, Crenn, a two-star Michelin chef, is sitting stretched out like a starfish, wearing joggers and a burgundy puffer vest. Marissa Miller, Vogue, "How to Spend a Day in San Francisco, According to Chef Dominique Crenn," 17 June 2018 Gigantic lobster tails the size of a dog, the bright suckers of a starfish, and the slurping, sucking, and sloshing of liquids. Lincoln Michel, GQ, "Évolution Is the Weirdest Sci-Fi Movie on Netflix," 23 June 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

24 Nov 2018

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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 \

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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to enclose within walls

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