[pi-rahn-yuh, -ran- or, often, -rah-nuh, -ran-uh]
- any of several small South American freshwater fishes of the genus Serrasalmus that eat other fish and sometimes plants but occasionally also attack humans and other large animals that enter the water.
Origin of piranha
1865–70; < Portuguese < Tupi
Also called caribe.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for piranha
Piranha was a film that far exceeded our expectations in quality and commercial success.Roger Corman: My Nine Most Memorable Films, From ‘The Trip’ to ‘Battle Beyond the Stars’
December 16, 2011
Piranha 3D, the new horror movie by director Alexandre Aja, which marks the big-screen return of the schlocky creature feature.
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Killer fish jumping through the screen, the return of Richard Dreyfuss— Piranha 3D has it all.
Killer fish jumping through the screen, the return of Richard Dreyfuss—Piranha 3D has it all.
There are several kinds of piranha, many of which abound in the waters of the Tapajos.
The piranha, called also the caribe, is a kind of salmon (Tetragonopterus).
And they lunched quite happily on piranha and pacu—which is smaller—and drank water, and for dessert had more piranha.
"But kill that piranha before you try to handle it," she advised seriously.
- any of various small freshwater voracious fishes of the genus Serrasalmus and related genera, of tropical America, having strong jaws and sharp teeth: family Characidae (characins)
C19: via Portuguese from Tupi: fish with teeth, from pirá fish + sainha tooth
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 piranha
also pirana, 1869, from Portuguese piranha, from Tupi (Brazil) pira nya, variant of pira'ya, literally "scissors."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper