[ krey-fish ]
/ ˈkreɪˌfɪʃ /
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noun, plural (especially collectively) cray·fish, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) cray·fish·es.
Also called crawdad, crawdaddy. any freshwater decapod crustacean of the genera Astacus and Cambarus, closely related to but smaller than the lobsters.
any of several similar marine crustaceans, especially the spiny lobster.


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Also crawfish.

Origin of crayfish

1350–1400; alteration (by folk etymology) of Middle English crevis<Middle French crevice<Old High German krebizcrab1

Words nearby crayfish

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does crayfish mean?

A crayfish is a freshwater crustacean related to the lobster but smaller.

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

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

Crayfish 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 crayfish. Freshwater ones are also referred to by the names crawfish, crawdad, and crawdaddy. Use of these terms varies by region.

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

Where does crayfish come from?

The first records of the word crayfish come from the 1300s. It comes from an alteration of the Middle English crevice, from the Middle French crevice, from the Old High German crebiz, meaning “crab.”

Crayfish 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.

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What are some synonyms for crayfish?

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

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

How is crayfish used in real life?

Crayfish is the most common term for such creatures, but people in different regions like to debate whether they’re properly called crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads.



Try using crayfish!

Is crayfish used correctly in the following sentence?

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

How to use crayfish in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for crayfish


esp US crawfish

/ (ˈkreɪˌfɪʃ) /

noun plural -fish or -fishes
any freshwater decapod crustacean of the genera Astacus and Cambarus, resembling a small lobster
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