[ fish ]
/ fɪʃ /
noun, plural (especially collectively) fish, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) fish·es.
any of various cold-blooded, aquatic vertebrates, having gills, commonly fins, and typically an elongated body covered with scales.
(loosely) any of various other aquatic animals.
the flesh of fishes used as food.
Fishes, Astronomy, Astrology. the constellation or sign of Pisces.
Informal. a person: an odd fish; a poor fish.
a long strip of wood, iron, etc., used to strengthen a mast, joint, etc.
Cards Slang. an incompetent player whose incompetence can be exploited.
Slang. a dollar: He sold the car for 500 fish.
Slang. a new prison inmate.
verb (used with object)
to catch or attempt to catch (any species of fish or the like).
to try to catch fish in (a stream, lake, etc.): Let's fish the creek.
to draw, as by fishing (often followed by up or out): He fished a coin out of his pocket for the boy.
to search through, as by fishing.
- to secure (an anchor) by raising the flukes.
- to reinforce (a mast or other spar) by fastening a spar, batten, metal bar, or the like, lengthwise over a weak place.
verb (used without object)
to catch or attempt to catch fish, as by angling or drawing a net.
to search carefully: He fished through all his pockets but his wallet was gone.
to seek to obtain something indirectly or by artifice: to fish for compliments; to fish for information.
to search for or attempt to catch onto something under water, in mud, etc., by the use of a dredge, rake, hook, or the like.
to attempt to recover detached tools or other loose objects from an oil or gas well.
fish out, to deplete (a lake, stream, etc.) of fish by fishing.
Words nearby fish
Idioms for fish
drink like a fish, to drink alcoholic beverages to excess: Nobody invites him out because he drinks like a fish.
fish in troubled waters, to take advantage of troubled or uncertain conditions for personal profit.
fish or cut bait, to choose a definite course of action, especially to decide whether to participate in or retreat from an activity.
fish out of water, a person out of his or her proper or accustomed environment: He felt like a fish out of water in an academic atmosphere.
neither fish nor fowl, having no specific character or conviction; neither one nor the other.
other fish to fry, other matters requiring attention: When it was time to act, they had other fish to fry.
Origin of fish
before 900; (noun) Middle English fis(c)h, fyssh, Old English fisc; cognate with Dutch vis, German Fisch, Old Norse fiskr, Gothic fisks; akin to Latin piscis, Irish iasc; (v.) Middle English fishen, Old English fiscian, cognate with Dutch visschen, German fischen, Old Norse fiska, Gothic fiskôn
OTHER WORDS FROM fishfish·less, adjectivefish·like, adjectiveout·fish, verb (used with object)un·fished, adjective
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH fishfiche fish
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for fish out of water (1 of 2)
/ (fɪʃ) /
n acronym for
fluorescence in situ hybridization, a technique for detecting and locating gene mutations and chromosome abnormalities
British Dictionary definitions for fish out of water (2 of 2)
/ (fɪʃ) /
noun plural fish or fishes
- any of a large group of cold-blooded aquatic vertebrates having jaws, gills, and usually fins and a skin covered in scales: includes the sharks and rays (class Chondrichthyes : cartilaginous fishes) and the teleosts, lungfish, etc (class Osteichthyes : bony fishes)
- (in combination)fishpond Related adjectives: ichthyic, ichthyoid, piscine
any of various similar but jawless vertebrates, such as the hagfish and lamprey
(not in technical use) any of various aquatic invertebrates, such as the cuttlefish, jellyfish, and crayfish
the flesh of fish used as food
informal a person of little emotion or intelligencea poor fish
short for fishplate
Also called: tin fish an informal word for torpedo (def. 1)
a fine kettle of fish an awkward situation; mess
drink like a fish to drink (esp alcohol) to excess
have other fish to fry to have other activities to do, esp more important ones
like a fish out of water out of one's usual place
make fish of one and flesh of another Irish to discriminate unfairly between people
neither fish, flesh, nor fowl neither this nor that
(intr) to attempt to catch fish, as with a line and hook or with nets, traps, etc
(tr) to fish in (a particular area of water)
to search (a body of water) for something or to search for something, esp in a body of water
(intr foll by for) to seek something indirectlyto fish for compliments
See also fish out
Derived forms of fishfishable, adjectivefishlike, adjective
Word Origin for fish
Old English fisc; related to Old Norse fiskr, Gothic fiscs, Russian piskar, Latin piscis
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
Scientific definitions for fish out of water
[ fĭsh ]
Plural fish fishes
Any of numerous cold-blooded vertebrate animals that live in water. Fish have gills for obtaining oxygen, a lateral line for sensing pressure changes in the water, and a vertical tail. Most fish are covered with scales and have limbs in the form of fins. Fish were once classified together as a single group, but are now known to compose numerous evolutionarily distinct classes, including the bony fish, cartilaginous fish, jawless fish, lobe-finned fish, and placoderms.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for fish out of water
Fish out of water
Someone who is out of his or her normal environment or range of activities: “I felt like a fish out of water at the advanced technology conference.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Idioms and Phrases with fish out of water
In addition to the idioms beginning with fish
- fish for
- fishing expedition
- fish in troubled waters
- fish or cut bait
- fish out
- fish out of water, a
- fish story
- big fish in a small pond
- cold fish
- drink like a fish
- goldfish bowl
- kettle of fish
- like shooting fish in a barrel
- neither fish nor fowl
- not the only fish in the sea
- other fish to fry
- smell fishy
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.