1 : any of numerous usually freshwater stout-bodied fishes with large heads and long thin feelers about the mouth
2 : a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes
Did You Know?
For centuries, a catfish was merely a type of fish with a distinctive face. Then, in 2010, Ariel Schulman released Catfish, a documentary about his brother Nev's experiences with a woman who pretended to be someone else online. (The movie was popular enough to spawn a television show by the same title.) In the documentary, the woman's husband explained the title with an anecdote about how fishermen transporting live cod used to put catfish in with the cod on long-haul shipments to keep the desirable cod active and alert until arrival. The man implied that his wife was like those catfish, keeping the lives of others fresh and interesting.
Mariah's mother worried that anyone her daughter interacted with via online dating sites would turn out to be a catfish with ulterior motives.
"There's also a lot more cyber-bullying this season as well, and people who are using catfish profiles for a lot of different motives, not just to seduce people and fall in love with people, but also to use them and to turn people against each other." - Nev Schulman, quoted in The Huffington Post, April 2, 2014
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