[ lam-pree ]
/ ˈlæm pri /

noun, plural lam·preys.

any eellike marine or freshwater fish of the order Petromyzoniformes, having a circular, suctorial mouth with horny teeth for boring into the flesh of other fishes to feed on their blood.

Nearby words

  1. lampion,
  2. lamplight,
  3. lamplighter,
  4. lampoon,
  5. lamppost,
  6. lamprophonic,
  7. lamprophony,
  8. lamprophyre,
  9. lampshade,
  10. lampworking

Origin of lamprey

1250–1300; Middle English lampreye < Anglo-French *lampreie (Old French lamproie) < Late Latin lamprēda; replacing Old English lamprede < Medieval Latin lampreda

Also called lamprey eel, lamper eel. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lamprey

British Dictionary definitions for lamprey


/ (ˈlæmprɪ) /


any eel-like cyclostome vertebrate of the family Petromyzonidae, having a round sucking mouth for clinging to and feeding on the blood of other animalsAlso called: lamper eel See also sea lamprey

Word Origin for lamprey

C13: from Old French lamproie, from Late Latin lamprēda; origin obscure

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 lamprey



c.1300 (c.1200 as a surname?), from Old French lamproie, from Medieval Latin lampreda, from Late Latin lampetra "lamprey," of uncertain origin, usually explained as literally "lick-rock," from Latin lambere "to lick" (see lap (v.1)) + petra "rock" (see petrous). The animals attach themselves to things with their sucker-like mouths.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper