Words related to fish

fishwife (n.)

1520s, from fish (n.) + wife (n.) in the "woman" sense. Also fish-fag.

fishy (adj.)

late 15c., "fish-like, slimy," from fish (n.) + -y (2). In reference to taste, from 1540s. Sense of "shady, questionable" is first recorded 1840, perhaps from the notion of "slipperiness," or of giving off a bad odor.

flatfish (n.)

also flat-fish, 1710, from flat (adj.) + fish (n.). So called from the shape.

gar (n.)

pike-like fish, 1765, American English, shortening of garfish (mid-15c.), from fish (n.) + Middle English gare, gore "a spear," from Old English gar "spear," from Proto-Germanic *gaisa- "spear" (source also of Old Norse geirr "spear; point of an anvil," Old Saxon, Old High German ger, German Ger "spear"), from PIE *ghaiso- "a stick, spear" (see goad (n.)). The fish so called for its long sharp snout. Compare Edgar, garlic.

garfish (n.)

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

goldfish (n.)

1690s, from gold (adj.) + fish (n.). The fish were introduced into England from China, where they are native. A type of carp, they are naturally a dull olive color; the rich colors (also red, black, silver) are obtained by selective breeding. Goldfish bowl, figurative of a situation of no privacy, was in use by 1935.

hogfish (n.)

c.1600, from hog (n.) + fish (n.). Of various fish that resemble hogs in some way, such as smooth roundness or bristled backs.

jellyfish (n.)

also jelly-fish, popular name of the medusa and similar sea-creatures, 1796, from jelly (n.) + fish (n.). So called for its soft structure. Figuratively, "person of weak character," 1883. Earlier it had been used of a type of actual fish (1707).

jewfish (n.)

1670s, from Jew (n.) + fish (n.). A guess at the name from 1690s suggests it is so called for being a "clean" fish according to Levitical laws.

kingfish (n.)

1750, a name given to various types of fish deemed exceptionally large or tasty; see king (adj.) + fish (n.). From 1933 as the nickname of U.S. politician Huey Long (1893-1935) of Louisiana.

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