See more synonyms for crayfish on
noun, plural (especially collectively) cray·fish, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) cray·fish·es.
  1. Also called crawdad, crawdaddy. any freshwater decapod crustacean of the genera Astacus and Cambarus, closely related to but smaller than the lobsters.
  2. any of several similar marine crustaceans, especially the spiny lobster.
Also crawfish.

Origin of crayfish

1350–1400; alteration (by folk etymology) of Middle English crevis < Middle French crevice < Old High German krebiz crab1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for crayfish

Contemporary Examples of crayfish

Historical Examples of crayfish

  • At this period the best bait is small minnows, crayfish, molluscs, etc.

    Black Bass

    Charles Barker Bradford

  • It hunts vigorously for crayfish and insect larv in the rivers.

  • By means of the circulation of the blood, the crayfish breathes.

  • The crayfish is brave, and skilful too, and he has good pistols.


    Prosper Merimee

  • This house belongs to me—the guineas of that crayfish will belong to me!


    Prosper Merimee

British Dictionary definitions for crayfish


esp US crawfish

noun plural -fish or -fishes
  1. any freshwater decapod crustacean of the genera Astacus and Cambarus, resembling a small lobster
  2. any of various similar crustaceans, esp the spiny lobster

Word Origin for crayfish

C14: cray, by folk etymology, from Old French crevice crab, from Old High German krebiz + fish
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 crayfish

"small, freshwater lobster," early 14c., crevis, from Old French crevice "crayfish" (13c., Modern French écrevisse), probably from Frankish *krebitja or a similar Germanic word that is a diminutive form of the root of crab (n.1); e.g. Old High German krebiz "crab, shellfish," German Krebs. Modern spelling is 16c., under influence of fish (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper