Ⅰ. craw·fish (krô’fĭsh′)
n. Chiefly Southern & Midland US Variant of CRAYFISH(Cf. ↑crayfish).
intr.v. craw·fished, craw·fish·ing, craw·fish·es Informal To withdraw from an undertaking.
Ⅱ. 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:

  • crawfish — v. i. to back out in a humilating manner; as, We ll have to crawfish out from meeting with him. Syn: retreat, back out, back away, crawfish out, withdraw. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Crawfish — Craw fish (kr[add] f[i^]sh ), Crayfish Cray fish (kr[=a] f[i^]sh ), n.; pl. { fishes} or { fish}. [Corrupted fr. OE. crevis, creves, OF. crevice, F. [ e]crevisse, fr. OHG. krebiz crab, G. krebs. See {Crab}. The ending fish arose from confusion… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • crawfish — [krô′fish΄] n. pl. crawfish or crawfishes (see FISH) CRAYFISH vi. Informal to withdraw from a position; back down …   English World dictionary

  • crawfish — 1620s, generally dismissed by British etymologists as a 19c. Amer.Eng. variant of CRAYFISH (Cf. crayfish), but it apparently existed in M.E …   Etymology dictionary

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

  • crawfish — UK [ˈkrɔːˌfɪʃ] / US [ˈkrɔˌfɪʃ] noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms crawfish : singular crawfish plural crawfishes a crayfish …   English dictionary

  • crawfish — /ˈkrɔfɪʃ/ (say krawfish) noun (plural crawfish or crawfishes) 1. → crayfish. –verb (i) 2. to move in the manner of a crawfish, close to the ground with arms and legs outspread. {earlier cravish, crafish, from Old French crevice. Compare crayfish} …   Australian English dictionary

  • Crawfish — Écrevisse de Louisiane Écrevisse de Louisiane …   Wikipédia en Français

  • crawfish — /kraw fish /, n., pl. (esp. collectively) crawfish, (esp. referring to two or more kinds or species) crawfishes, v. n. 1. crayfish. v.i. 2. Informal. to back out or retreat from a position or undertaking. [1615 25; earlier crafish, cravish,… …   Universalium

  • crawfish — craw|fish [ˈkro:ˌfıʃ US ˈkro: ] n plural crawfish a ↑crayfish …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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