crawfish

[ kraw-fish ]
/ ˈkrɔˌfɪʃ /

noun, plural (especially collectively) craw·fish, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) craw·fish·es.

verb (used without object), craw·fished, craw·fish·ing.

Informal. to back out or retreat from a position or undertaking.

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Origin of crawfish

1615–25; earlier crafish, cravish, cravis, variant outcomes of Middle French crevicecrayfish
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

VOCAB BUILDER

What does crawfish mean?

Crawfish is another name for a crayfish, a freshwater crustacean related to the lobster but smaller.

Crawfish is also sometimes used as the name of several similar saltwater crustaceans, especially the spiny lobster (also called the rock lobster).

The plural of crawfish can be crawfish or crawfishes. When used as a plural, crawfish typically refers to them collectively, while crawfishes usually refers to two or more kinds or species (but this isn’t always the case).

Crawfish aren’t fish—they’re shellfish. Other types of crustaceans include crabs, lobsters, and shrimp. There are several different species of both freshwater and saltwater crawfish. Freshwater ones are also referred to by the names crawdad and crawdaddy. Use of these terms varies by region.

Crawfish can also be used as an informal verb meaning to back out of something or retreat—like a crawfish retreating under a rock.

Example: When I was a kid, we used to catch crawfish in the creek.

Where does crawfish come from?

The first records of the word crawfish come from the 1600s. It comes from an alteration of the Middle English crevice, from the Middle French crevice, from the Old High German crebiz, meaning “crab.”

Crawfish are mostly small, lobster-like creatures. They’re decapods, meaning they have 10 walking legs.

The terms crawdad and crawdaddy are Americanisms, meaning they’re primarily used in the United States. But use of the terms varies by region. Crawdad and crawdaddy are most often used in Midwestern states and along the West Coast. Crawfish is the prevalent term in much of the South, whereas crayfish is the preferred term in the Northeast.

When crawfish is used as a slang verb, it’s typically used in a mildly negative way to indicate that someone is backing out of something they should do or take responsibility for, as in I was supposed to have more help with moving but a lot of my buddies crawfished out of it.

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What are some synonyms for crawfish?

What are some words that may share a root or word element with crawfish

What are some words that often get used in discussing crawfish?

How is crawfish used in real life?

People in different regions like to debate whether to use the term crayfish, crawfish, or crawdad.

 

 

Try using crawfish!

Is crawfish used correctly in the following sentence?

I think I just saw two crawfish scurry under that rock.

Example sentences from the Web for crawfish

British Dictionary definitions for crawfish

crawfish
/ (ˈkrɔːˌfɪʃ) /

noun plural -fish or -fishes

a variant (esp US) of crayfish (def. 2)
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