plural wrasses also wrasse
: any of a large family (Labridae) of elongate usually brilliantly colored marine bony fishes that usually bury themselves in sand at night and include important food fishes as well as a number of popular aquarium fishes

Examples of wrasse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web After tissue samples were taken and DNA analyses were conducted, it was revealed that the fish belonged to a previously unknown type of wrasse, a family of colorful and diverse fish. Brendan Rascius, Miami Herald, 4 Mar. 2024 The wrasse measured 18 inches from nose to tail and had a 13-inch girth. Katie Hill, Outdoor Life, 27 Sep. 2023 Some other wrasse species, known as cleaner wrasse, meticulously clean sea lice off bigger fish. Katie Hill, Outdoor Life, 27 Sep. 2023 After a week with a mirror in their tank, cleaner wrasses seem able to spot themselves in photos. Allison Parshall, Scientific American, 1 June 2023 Cleaner wrasses behaved aggressively toward the ones with the stranger's face but not with their own. Allison Parshall, Scientific American, 1 June 2023 But the cleaner wrasse, in demonstrating how individuals as well as groups can reap benefits from third-party punishments, shows us that such punishments can evolve through selfish tendencies rather than altruistic ones. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 8 Jan. 2010 This roving coral grouper fish is groomed by a bluestreak cleaner wrasse. Kristin Ohlson, Discover Magazine, 2 Jan. 2019 With more than 50 species, the fairy wrasse are found around coral reefs. Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 5 Nov. 2021

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

Word History


Cornish gwragh, wragh hag, wrasse

First Known Use

circa 1672, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wrasse was circa 1672

Dictionary Entries Near wrasse

Cite this Entry

“Wrasse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrasse. Accessed 18 May. 2024.

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