noun, plural shrimps, (especially collectively) shrimp for 1.

any of several small, long-tailed, chiefly marine crustaceans of the decapod suborder Natania, certain species of which are used as food.
Informal. a diminutive or insignificant person.

verb (used without object)

to catch or try to catch shrimps.


(of food) made with or containing shrimp: shrimp salad.
of or relating to shrimp or their catching, processing, and marketing: a shrimp boat.

Origin of shrimp

1300–50; Middle English shrimpe crustacean, puny person; akin to Middle High German schrimpfen to contract, Old English scrimman to shrink
Related formsshrimp·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shrimp

Contemporary Examples of shrimp

Historical Examples of shrimp

  • I helped her up on to this rock and baited her hook with shrimp.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • But, my dear Lawless, out of the host of servants at Heathfield, how do you know it was Shrimp who did it?

    Frank Fairlegh

    Frank E. Smedley

  • Some of the young ones, as joyful skippers, could have tired out a shrimp.

    A Jolly Fellowship

    Frank R. Stockton

  • "I hope we don't have to have much to do with Shrimp," muttered Noll Terry.

  • For Shrimp had been tried by court-martial, three days before.

British Dictionary definitions for shrimp



any of various chiefly marine decapod crustaceans of the genus Crangon and related genera, having a slender flattened body with a long tail and a single pair of pincers
any of various similar but unrelated crustaceans, such as the opossum shrimp and mantis shrimp
Also called: freshwater shrimp any of various freshwater shrimplike amphipod crustaceans of the genus Gammarus, esp G. pulex
Also called: sand shrimp any of various shrimplike amphipod crustaceans of the genus Gammarus, esp G. locustaSee also opossum shrimp
informal a diminutive person, esp a child


(intr) to fish for shrimps
Derived Formsshrimper, noun

Word Origin for shrimp

C14: probably of Germanic origin; compare Middle Low German schrempen to shrink; see scrimp, crimp
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 shrimp

early 14c., "slender, edible marine crustacean," probably from Old Norse skreppa "thin person," from Proto-Germanic *skrimp- (see scrimp). Related to Old English scrimman "to shrink;" the connecting notion is probably "thinness" (cf. Danish dialectal skrimpe "thin cattle"). The meaning "puny person" in English is attested from late 14c.; an especially puny one might be a shrimplet (1680s).


"fish for shrimp," 1801 (implied in shrimping ), from shrimp (n.). Related: Shrimper (1808).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper