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noun, plural (especially collectively) shell·fish, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) shell·fish·es.
  1. an aquatic animal having a shell, as the oyster and other mollusks and the lobster and other crustaceans.

Origin of shellfish

before 900; Middle English; Old English scilfisc. See shell, fish Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for shellfish


noun plural -fish or -fishes
  1. any aquatic invertebrate having a shell or shell-like carapace, esp such an animal used as human food. Examples are crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters and molluscs such as oysters
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 shellfish

also shell-fish, Old English scylfiscas (plural); see shell (n.) + fish (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper