any of various shrimplike decapod crustaceans of the genera Palaemon, Penaeus, etc., certain of which are used as food.

verb (used with object)

to catch prawns, as for food.


    come the raw prawn, Australian Slang. to try to impose on or deceive someone (followed by with).

Origin of prawn

1400–50; late Middle English prane, of uncertain origin
Related formsprawn·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for prawn

Contemporary Examples of prawn

  • PRAWN COCKTAILThis is also delicious if you replace the shrimp with smoked salmon or cooked crab.

    The Daily Beast logo
    That '70s Food

    Lydia Brownlow

    April 22, 2011

  • Similar in appearance and often used synonymously—and erroneously—the shrimp and the prawn are two different creatures.

  • After a lunch of prawn curry and rice at the Bunder, you may want to visit the Lighthouse Hill and its vicinity.

Historical Examples of prawn

British Dictionary definitions for prawn



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
come the raw prawn Australian informal to attempt deception
Derived Formsprawner, noun

Word Origin for prawn

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].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper