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piranha

[pi-rahn-yuh, -ran- or, often, -rah-nuh, -ran-uh]
noun, plural pi·ra·nhas, (especially collectively) pi·ra·nha.
  1. 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.
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Origin of piranha

1865–70; < Portuguese < Tupi
Also called caribe.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for piranha

piranha

piraa

noun
  1. 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)
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Word Origin

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

n.

also pirana, 1869, from Portuguese piranha, from Tupi (Brazil) pira nya, variant of pira'ya, literally "scissors."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper