[ fish ]
/ fɪʃ /

verb (used without object)

to try to obtain financial or other confidential information from Internet users, typically by sending an email that looks as if it is from a legitimate organization, usually a financial institution, but contains a link to a fake website that replicates the real one.

verb (used with object)

to make (someone) a victim in this way: If you've been phished, you should cancel your credit cards immediately.
Sometimes brand spoof.
Compare vish.

Origin of phish

1995–2000; respelling (influenced by phreak) of fish


phish·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for phishing

  • One challenge is that this isn't a virus or a hacker attack—it's just a phishing scam, an attempt to trick people.

    Is Your Mac Safe?|Dan Lyons|June 21, 2011|DAILY BEAST
  • Once a user had heard about this phishing expedition, though, they were unlikely to engage with it again.

    Facebook Chat Gets Hijacked|Alex Leo|February 17, 2011|DAILY BEAST

British Dictionary definitions for phishing

/ (ˈfɪʃɪŋ) /


the practice of using fraudulent e-mails and copies of legitimate websites to extract financial data from computer users for purposes of identity theft

Word Origin for phishing

C21: from fishing in the sense of catching the unwary by offering bait; computer-hacker slang often replaces f with ph
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