- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Related Words for fishestroll, trawl, angle, chum, extricate, bob, cast, produce, bait, net, extract, find, seine
Examples from the Web for fishes
Contemporary Examples of fishes
His most famous miracle was making a few loaves and fishes feed a multitude.Keep Christmas Commercialized!
P. J. O’Rourke
December 6, 2014
Fortunately for libertarian-minded voters, Palin and Cruz are hardly the only fishes in the sea.Nostalgia Act: The Great Sarah Palin Revival Tour of 2013
June 18, 2013
But fans say they miss them already—even if some are sleeping with the fishes.RIP, Lever Voting Machines: Where Did Old Booths Go?
November 10, 2012
Here we have the collision of The Godfather “sleep with the fishes” line with the world of underwater creatures.The U.K.'s Innovation Dream Team
May 14, 2010
I kept thinking of that line in The Godfather, “Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”My Swim with the Great White Sharks
March 27, 2010
Historical Examples of fishes
"I fancy it must be because you call them fishes and not fish," replied Vavasor.Weighed and Wanting
"Thou wouldst feed the fishes of the Darro," interrupted Ximen.Leila, Complete
In the walls were cages and ponds, where fishes and birds moved as though alive.The Chinese Fairy Book
He 'blessed the condition of the birds, beasts, and fishes, for they had not a sinful nature.Bunyan
James Anthony Froude
Then he strayed down by the creek, as I have said, to tell his grief to the fishes.
- the Fishes the constellation Pisces, the twelfth sign of the zodiac
- fluorescence in situ hybridization, a technique for detecting and locating gene mutations and chromosome abnormalities
- 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
Word Origin for fish
Old English fisc, from Proto-Germanic *fiskaz (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German fisc, Old Norse fiskr, Middle Dutch visc, Dutch vis, German Fisch, Gothic fisks), from PIE *peisk- "fish" (cf. Latin piscis, Irish iasc, and, via Latin, Italian pesce, French poisson, Spanish pez, Welsh pysgodyn, Breton pesk).
Fish story attested from 1819, from the tendency to exaggerate the size of the catch (or the one that got away). Figurative sense of fish out of water first recorded 1610s.
- 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.
Traditionally, a class of vertebrates that breathe with gills rather than lungs, live in water, and generally lay eggs, although some bear their young alive. Some biologists consider the fishes a “superclass,” and divide them into three classes: bony fishes, such as sunfish and cod; fishes with a skeleton formed of cartilage rather than bone, such as sharks; and fishes that lack jaws, such as lampreys.
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