Words related to fish

catfish (n.)

also cat-fish, name given to various types of fish, 1610s, originally probably in reference to the Atlantic wolf-fish, in reference to its ferocity, from cat (n.) + fish (n.).

The North American freshwater fish was so called by 1690s, probably for its "whiskers," or for the purring noise it is said to make when taken from the water. Greek had glanis, glaneos "catfish," in reference to the only European species (the Latin silurus, in English generally sheatfish), found north of the Alps, and the largest European fish other than the sturgeon. The name is based on glanos "hyena," the fish being "thus called because of its voracity and the sound it makes" [Beekes]. Compare dogfish. The ancients thought them sensitive to thunder and able to predict earthquakes and told of catching them of such size they had to be hauled ashore by oxen.

crayfish (n.)

"small, freshwater lobster," early 14c., crevis, from Old French crevice, escrevice "crayfish" (13c., Modern French écrevisse), probably from Frankish *krebitja or a similar Germanic word that is a diminutive form of the root of crab (n.1); compare Old High German krebiz "crab, shellfish," German Krebs. Modern spelling is established from 16c., a folk-etymology alteration under influence of fish (n.).

devil-fish (n.)

a term used of various large and uncanny marine animals, by 1814, from devil (n.) + fish (n.).

dogfish (n.)

a name for various types of small shark, mid-15c., dogge fysch, from dog (n.) + fish (n.). It is said to be so called because it hunts in packs. The wild dog was the image of sharks in classical antiquity as well, and Greek used kyon "dog" also for dogfish and sharks, especially the smaller kind.

But in the Mediterranean, among the Greeks and Romans of antiquity, closer contact with sharks had left an impression of vicious dogs of the sea. Thus, Pliny's canis marinus. The metaphor of the dog spread to the North to dominate the European image of the shark, from the Italian pescecane and French chien de mer to the German Meerhund and Hundfisch and English sea dog and dogfish. [Tom Jones, "The Xoc, the Sharke and the Sea Dogs," in "Fifth Palenque Round Table, 1983," edited by Virginia M. Field, 1985.]

Greek galeos "dogfish or shark" perhaps is based on galen "weasel, marten," which also was a fish name.

fishbowl (n.)

also fish-bowl, "a glass globe in which fish are kept," 1850, from fish (n.) + bowl (n.). The form goldfish-bowl is attested from 1841. Figuratively, as a place where one is under constant observation, by 1957. Fish-globe is by 1858.

fish-food (n.)

 1863, "food for (pet or hobby) fish;" 1860, "fish as food for humans;" from fish (n.) + food


late 14c., from fish (n.) + hook (n.).

fishmonger (n.)

also fish-monger, mid-15c., from fish (n.) + monger (n.).

fishnet (n.)

"net used to catch fish," Old English fiscnett; see fish (n.) + net (n.). From 1881 in reference to a type of stitch that resembles fishnet. By 1912 in reference to women's hosiery.

There has been considerable misconception as to the purpose of the fishnet hose imported by the ECONOMIST and illustrated on page 177. The newspaper representatives who viewed it at the ECONOMIST'S fashion exhibition used it as a pretext for many humorous articles and conveyed the impression that it was to be worn next the skin. The purpose is to use it over white or colored hose, to produce an unusual effect. Every store should have one or more pairs for exhibition purposes, if for no other reason. [Dry Goods Economist, June 22, 1912]
fishpond (n.)

also fish-pond, mid-15c., from fish (n.) + pond (n.).

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