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nurse shark

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noun
  1. any of several sharks of the family Orectolobidae, especially Ginglymostoma cirratum, occurring in shallow waters from Rhode Island to Brazil and the Gulf of California to Ecuador.
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Origin of nurse shark

First recorded in 1850–55; allegedly so called because the male habitually hangs on to the female's fin with his teeth
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for nurse shark

nurse shark

noun
  1. any of various sharks of the family Orectolobidae, such as Ginglymostoma cirratum of the Atlantic Ocean, having an external groove on each side of the head between the mouth and nostril
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Word Origin

C15: nusse fisshe (later influenced in spelling by nurse), perhaps from division of obsolete an huss shark, dogfish (of uncertain origin) as a nuss
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