[pahy-luh t-fish]
noun, plural (especially collectively) pi·lot·fish, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) pi·lot·fish·es.
  1. a small, marine fish, Naucrates ductor, often swimming with sharks.
  2. any of various other fishes having similar habits.

Origin of pilotfish

First recorded in 1625–35; pilot + fish
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of pilot-fish

Word Origin and History for pilot-fish

1630s, from pilot (n.) + fish (n.). So called because they were thought to lead sharks to prey.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper