• synonyms


[dawg-fish, dog-]
noun, plural (especially collectively) dog·fish, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) dog·fish·es.
  1. any of several small sharks, especially of the genera Mustelus and Squalus, that are destructive to food fishes.
  2. any of various other fishes, as the bowfin.
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Origin of dogfish

1425–75; earlier dokefyche; late Middle English. See dog, fish
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dogfish

Historical Examples of dogfish

  • And we hadn't more'n got our lines over the side than we struck into a school of dogfish.

    Cape Cod Stories

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • All through July the Tarpaulin Islanders had been troubled with dogfish.

    Jim Spurling, Fisherman

    Albert Walter Tolman

  • Chiloscyllium modestum is the dogfish of the Australian fishermen.

  • They wuz sorted in th' big river but the drive was fouled in the Dogfish.

  • Were they huge gulls or windbags, cormorants or cranes, devils or dogfish?

British Dictionary definitions for dogfish


noun plural -fish or -fishes
  1. any of several small spotted European sharks, esp Scyliorhinus caniculus (lesser spotted dogfish): family Scyliorhinidae
  2. any small shark of the family Squalidae, esp Squalus acanthias (spiny dogfish), typically having a spine on each dorsal fin
  3. any small smooth-skinned shark of the family Triakidae, esp Mustelus canis (smooth dogfish or smooth hound)
  4. a less common name for the bowfin
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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 dogfish


a name for various types of small shark, late 15c., dokefyche, from dog (n.) + fish (n.). Said to be so called because they hunt in packs. This was the image of sharks in classical antiquity as well.

But in the Mediterranean, among the Greeks and Romans of antiquity, closer contact with sharks had left an impression of vicious dogs of the sea. Thus, Pliny's canis marinus. The metaphor of the dog spread to the North to dominate the European image of the shark, from the Italian pescecane and French chien de mer to the German Meerhund and Hundfisch and English sea dog and dogfish. [Tom Jones, "The Xoc, the Sharke and the Sea Dogs," in "Fifth Palenque Round Table, 1983," edited by Virginia M. Field, 1985.]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper