noun, plural (especially collectively) gold·fish, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) gold·fish·es.

a small, usually yellow or orange fish, Carassius auratus, of the carp family, native to China, bred in many varieties and often kept in fishbowls and pools.

Origin of goldfish

First recorded in 1690–1700; gold + fish Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for goldfish

Contemporary Examples of goldfish

Historical Examples of goldfish

  • Kitty threw a crust to the goldfish and watched them swirl about it greedily.

    The Lure of the Mask

    Harold MacGrath

  • It is all true—my dream, and what I saw myself do in the bowl of goldfish.


    Cleveland Moffett

  • To be sure, she had asked him not to use the water from the goldfish globe; but he just would.


    Sewell Ford

  • We don't need mercury any more than a goldfish needs a gas-mask.

    Spacehounds of IPC

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • I guess he always did look like a goldfish, but I mean even more like, then.

British Dictionary definitions for goldfish


noun plural -fish or -fishes

a freshwater cyprinid fish, Carassius auratus, of E Europe and Asia, esp China, widely introduced as a pond or aquarium fish. It resembles the carp and has a typically golden or orange-red coloration
any of certain similar ornamental fishes, esp the golden orfeSee orfe
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 goldfish

1690s, from gold + fish (n.); introduced into England from China, where they are native. A goldfish bowl, figurative of a situation of no privacy, was in use by 1935.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper