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  1. any of various marine fishes of the family Labridae, especially of the genus Labrus, having thick, fleshy lips, powerful teeth, and usually a brilliant color, certain species being valued as food fishes.

Origin of wrasse

1665–75; apparently originally a plural of dial. (Cornwall) wrah, wraugh, wrath < Cornish wragh, lenited form of gwragh literally, old woman, hag; compare Welsh gwrach(en), Breton gwrac’h, also with both senses
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wrasse

Historical Examples

  • Wrasse From Sicily brought to their table, alive in his own Sea water.

    The Satyricon, Complete

    Petronius Arbiter

  • The Wrasse has been retaken after a considerable period; therefore it is not dead.

  • The wrasse brought from dangerous Syrtis is much more esteemed When fishing-boats founder!

    The Satyricon, Complete

    Petronius Arbiter

British Dictionary definitions for wrasse


  1. any marine percoid fish of the family Labridae, of tropical and temperate seas, having thick lips, strong teeth, and usually a bright coloration: many are used as food fishes

Word Origin

C17: from Cornish wrach; related to Welsh gwrach old woman
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for wrasse


1670s, from Cornish wrach, related to Welsh gurach.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper