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  1. any of various shrimplike decapod crustaceans of the genera Palaemon, Penaeus, etc., certain of which are used as food.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to catch prawns, as for food.
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  1. come the raw prawn, Australian Slang. to try to impose on or deceive someone (followed by with).
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Origin of prawn

1400–50; late Middle English prane, of uncertain origin
Related formsprawn·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for prawn


  1. any of various small edible marine decapod crustaceans of the genera Palaemon, Penaeus, etc, having a slender flattened body with a long tail and two pairs of pincers
  2. come the raw prawn Australian informal to attempt deception
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Derived Formsprawner, noun

Word Origin

C15: of obscure origin
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 prawn


early 15c., prayne, of unknown origin. "No similar name found in other langs." [OED].

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper