cut·​tle·​fish ˈkə-tᵊl-ˌfish How to pronounce cuttlefish (audio)
: any of various marine cephalopod mollusks (order Sepioidea, especially genus Sepia) having eight short arms and two usually longer tentacles and differing from the related squid in having a calcified internal shell

Illustration of cuttlefish

Illustration of cuttlefish

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The vitreous cuttlefish and sea slugs evoke an underwater world that few people encounter directly even today. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, 2 May 2016 An appetizer of cuttlefish, chickpeas and ’nduja was savory and spicy in perfect balance; the pastas, both a lovely agnolotti stuffed with pumpkin in a sage-and-butter sauce and a spaghetti in a hearty ragù of pork shoulder, were extraordinary. Eric Asimov, New York Times, 9 Jan. 2023 Crook noted that in the United States there are no laws protecting octopuses and other cephalopods, such as squid and cuttlefish; they are not considered animals by the federal government. Los Angeles Times, 20 Dec. 2022 But, while octopuses and their cephalopod counterparts (the squids and the cuttlefish) boast oddly complex brains, the basis of their complexity continues to stump scientists. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 29 Nov. 2022 And who would hold a single cuttlefish to be an example of deceitful behavior, when its aptitude for concealment is helpful to its survival? Lucie Elven, The New Yorker, 5 Jan. 2023 In 2021, Alexandra Schnell, a biologist at the University of Cambridge, and others found that cuttlefish can pass a version of the marshmallow test, a famous measure of self-control in human psychology. Elizabeth Preston, New York Times, 27 Aug. 2022 Nevertheless, a group of Spanish scientists set out to study acoustic trauma in cephalopods (squid, octopuses, and cuttlefish--which is to say, inkfish). Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 15 Apr. 2011 That’s a huge challenge for all paleontologists, but especially experts on ancient cephalopods—the fossil relatives of today’s nautilus, squid, cuttlefish and octopus that live from the shore to the dark depths. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cuttlefish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English cotul + English fish

First Known Use

1591, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cuttlefish was in 1591

Dictionary Entries Near cuttlefish

Cite this Entry

“Cuttlefish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


cut·​tle·​fish -ˌfish How to pronounce cuttlefish (audio)
: a marine mollusk having eight short arms and two longer tentacles and differing from the related squid in having an internal shell composed of compounds of calcium

More from Merriam-Webster on cuttlefish

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Fashionable Words

  • dog-sunglasses-scarf
  • Which of these items is named for a deadly weapon?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?