[ sil-ver-fish ]

noun,plural (especially collectively) sil·ver·fish, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) sil·ver·fish·es.
  1. a white or silvery goldfish, Carassius auratus.

  2. any of various other silvery fishes, as the tarpon, silversides, or shiner.

  1. a wingless, silvery-gray thysanuran insect, Lepisma saccharina, that feeds on starch, damaging books, wallpaper, etc.

Origin of silverfish

First recorded in 1695–1705; silver + fish

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

How to use silverfish in a sentence

  • silverfish can fit three mountain bikes side by side, wheels and all—and I never have to worry about them getting stolen.

  • Rapid fire legs sidestep the etchings of industrious ants while silverfish are the boatmen trouncing human oars.

    The Land of Look Behind | Paul Cameron Brown
  • "All we ask is that you obey our instructions," returned the silverfish.

    Glinda of Oz | L. Frank Baum
  • A silverfish then raised its head beside that of the goldfish, and a moment later a bronzefish lifted its head beside the others.

    Glinda of Oz | L. Frank Baum
  • The one who had been a silverfish had snow-white hair of the finest texture and deep brown eyes.

    Glinda of Oz | L. Frank Baum

British Dictionary definitions for silverfish


/ (ˈsɪlvəˌfɪʃ) /

nounplural -fish or -fishes
  1. a silver variety of the goldfish Carassius auratus

  2. any of various other silvery fishes, such as the moonfish Monodactylus argenteus

  1. any of various small primitive wingless insects of the genus Lepisma, esp L. saccharina, that have long antennae and tail appendages and occur in buildings, feeding on food scraps, bookbindings, etc: order Thysanura (bristletails)

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