[ seyl-fish ]

noun,plural (especially collectively) sail·fish, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) sail·fish·es.
  1. a large tropical and subtropical marine fish, Istiophorus platypterus, of the family Istiophoridae, distinguished by a long, high dorsal fin, long pelvic fins, and a double keel on each side of the tail.

  2. any of several related fishes having a high dorsal fin.

Origin of sailfish

First recorded in 1585–95; sail + fish

Words Nearby sailfish Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sailfish in a sentence

  • The sailfish sheered round on the surface, with tail and bill out, while the shark swam about five feet under him.

    Tales of Fishes | Zane Grey
  • Then I saw a smashing break of a sailfish coming out sideways, sending the water in white sheets.

    Tales of Fishes | Zane Grey

British Dictionary definitions for sailfish


/ (ˈseɪlˌfɪʃ) /

nounplural -fish or -fishes
  1. any of several large scombroid game fishes of the genus Istiophorus, such as I. albicans (Atlantic sailfish), of warm and tropical seas: family Istiophoridae. They have an elongated upper jaw and a long sail-like dorsal fin

  2. another name for basking shark

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