crayfish

cray·fish (krā’fĭsh′) also craw·fish (krô’-)
n. pl. crayfish or cray·fish·es also crawfish or craw·fish·es 1) Any of various freshwater crustaceans of the families Astacidae and Cambaridae of the Northern Hemisphere and the family Parastacidae of the Southern Hemisphere, resembling a lobster but considerably smaller. Also called mudbug; also called regionally crawdad. 2) See SPINY LOBSTER(Cf. ↑spiny lobster).
[By folk etymology from Middle English crevise, from Old French crevice, perhaps from Old High German krebiz, edible crustacean; see gerbh-.]
Word History: The crayfish, also known as the crawfish, owes its name to a misunderstanding. The actual source of the word may be the Old High German word krebiz, "edible crustacean," or a word related to it. From this Germanic source came Old French crevice, which when taken into English became crevise (first recorded in a document written in 1311-1312). In Old French and Middle English these words designated the crayfish. People began to pronounce and spell the last part of this word as if it were fish, the first fish spelling being recorded in 1555. Because of a variation in Anglo-Norman pronunciation, two forms of the word have come down to Modern English: crayfish and crawfish.

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • crayfish — [krā′fish΄] n. pl. crayfish or crayfishes (see FISH) [altered, by assoc. with FISH < ME crevise < OFr crevice < OHG krebiz: see CRAB ] ☆ 1. any of various families of small, usually freshwater decapods somewhat resembling little lobsters …   English World dictionary

  • Crayfish — Allgemeine Informationen Genre(s) Rock Gründung 2001 Website http://www.crayfish.de/ …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • crayfish — early 14c., crevis, from O.Fr. crevice crayfish (13c., Mod.Fr. écrevisse), probably from Frankish *krebitja or a similar Germanic word that is a dim. form of the root of CRAB (Cf. crab) (1); e.g. O.H.G. krebiz crab, shellfish, Ger. Krebs. Modern… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Crayfish — Cray fish (kr[=a] f[i^]sh), n. (Zo[ o]l.) See {Crawfish}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • crayfish — a 16c alteration of an earlier word crevis (or crevisse), is the usual word in Britain for a small lobster like freshwater crustacean. Americans call them crawfish, and Australians and New Zealanders tend to abbreviate the word to cray (as in… …   Modern English usage

  • crayfish — ► NOUN (pl. same) ▪ a freshwater or marine crustacean resembling a small lobster. ORIGIN Old French crevice, related to German Krebs crab …   English terms dictionary

  • Crayfish — For the marine crustaceans commonly known as crayfish, see spiny lobster. Crayfish Temporal range: Mesozoic–Recent …   Wikipedia

  • crayfish — /kray fish /, n., pl. (esp. collectively) crayfish, (esp. referring to two or more kinds or species) crayfishes. 1. Also called crawdad, crawdaddy. any freshwater decapod crustacean of the genera Astacus and Cambarus, closely related to but… …   Universalium

  • crayfish — /ˈkreɪfɪʃ / (say krayfish) noun 1. (plural crayfish or crayfishes)→ lobster (def. 2). 2. (plural crayfish or crayfishes) Especially SA, NSW and Tasmania → rock lobster …   Australian English dictionary

  • crayfish — [[t]kre͟ɪfɪʃ[/t]] N COUNT (crayfish is both the singular and the plural form.) A crayfish is a small shellfish with five pairs of legs which lives in rivers and streams. You can eat some types of crayfish. Syn: crawfish …   English dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.