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From Middle English fisch, from Old English fisċ (“fish”), from Proto-West Germanic *fisk, from Proto-Germanic *fiskaz (“fish”) (compare West Frisian fisk, Dutch vis, Danish fisk, Norwegian fisk, Swedish fisk, German Fisch), from Proto-Indo-European *peysḱ- (“fish”) (compare Irish iasc, Latin piscis). Found only in West Indo-European languages, namely the Italic, Celtic and Germanic branches. Perhaps derived from *peh₂- (“to feed, to guard, to nourish”) and thus cognate to Proto-Slavic *piťa (“food”), Sanskrit पितु (pitu, “food”), Lithuanian piẽtūs (“lunch”), Old Irish ith (“corn”), Latin pānis (“bread”), English food and German Futter (“fodder”).
- enPR: fĭsh, IPA(key): /fɪʃ/
- (General New Zealand) IPA(key): /fɘʃ/
fish (countable and uncountable, plural fish or fishes)
- (countable) A cold-blooded vertebrate animal that lives in water, moving with the help of fins and breathing with gills.
- Salmon is a fish.
- The fishmonger sells fishes from all over the world.
- Ichthyologists study the fish of the world.
- We have many fish in our aquarium.
- (archaic or loosely) Any animal (or any vertebrate) that lives exclusively in water.
- (Newfoundland) Cod; codfish.
- (uncountable) The flesh of the fish used as food.
- The seafood pasta had lots of fish but not enough pasta.
- Though Lena is a vegetarian, she doesn’t have any problem with eating fish.
- (uncountable) A card game in which the object is to obtain cards in pairs or sets of four (depending on the variation), by asking the other players for cards of a particular rank.
- (uncountable, derogatory, slang) A woman.
- (countable, slang) An easy victim for swindling.
- (countable, poker slang) A bad poker player. Compare shark (a good poker player).
- (countable, nautical) A makeshift overlapping longitudinal brace, originally shaped roughly like a fish, used to temporarily repair or extend a spar or mast of a ship.
- (nautical) A purchase used to fish the anchor.
- (countable, nautical, military) A torpedo (the self-propelled explosive device).
- (zoology) A paraphyletic grouping of the following extant taxonomic groups:
- Class Myxini, the hagfish (no vertebra)
- Class Petromyzontida, the lampreys (no jaw)
- Within infraphylum Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates (also including Tetrapoda)
- Class Chondrichthyes, cartilaginous fish such as sharks and rays
- Superclass Osteichthyes, bony fish.
- (cartomancy) The thirty-fourth Lenormand card.
- (prison slang) a new (usually vulnerable) prisoner
The collective plural of fish is normally fish in the UK, except in archaic texts where fishes may be encountered; in the US, fishes is encountered as well, but much less commonly. When referring to two or more kinds of fish, the plural is fishes.