• synonyms


noun, plural (especially collectively) kil·li·fish, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) kil·li·fish·es.
  1. any of several small, oviparous cyprinodont fishes, especially of the genus Fundulus, found in salt, brackish, and fresh waters.
  2. any of several livebearers.
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Origin of killifish

1805–15, Americanism; perhaps kill2 + -i- (unexplained) + fish
Also called kil·lie [kil-ee] /ˈkɪl i/.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for killifish

Historical Examples

  • While the killifish responds to a bass-viol string, there may be some fishes wholly deaf.

    A Guide to the Study of Fishes, Volume 1 (of 2)

    David Starr Jordan

British Dictionary definitions for killifish


noun plural -fish or -fishes
  1. any of various chiefly American minnow-like cyprinodont fishes of the genus Fundulus and related genera, of fresh and brackish waters: used as aquarium fishes, to control mosquitoes, and as anglers' bait
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Word Origin

C19: see kill ², 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