Definition of fish noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//fɪʃ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//fɪʃ//
    (pl. fish, fishes) Fish is the usual plural form. The older form, fishes, can be used to refer to different kinds of fish. Fish
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  1. 1   [countable] a creature that lives in water, breathes through gills, and uses fins and a tail for swimming They caught several fish. tropical/marine/freshwater fish shoals (= groups) of fish a fish tank/pond There are about 30 000 species of fish in the world. The list of endangered species includes nearly 600 fishes. Fish stocks in the Baltic are in decline. In the pool she could see little silvery fish darting around. CollocationsThe living worldAnimals animals mate/​breed/​reproduce/​feed (on something) fish/​amphibians swim/​spawn (= lay eggs) birds fly/​migrate/​nest/​sing insects crawl/​fly/​bite/​sting insects/​bees/​locusts swarm bees collect/​gather nectar/​pollen spiders spin/​weave a web snakes/​lizards shed their skins bears/​hedgehogs/​frogs hibernate insect larvae grow/​develop/​pupate an egg/​a chick/​a larva hatches attract/​find/​choose a mate produce/​release eggs/​sperm lay/​fertilize/​incubate/​hatch eggs inhabit a forest/​a reef/​the coast mark/​enter/​defend (a) territory stalk/​hunt/​capture/​catch/​kill preyPlants and fungi trees/​plants grow/​bloom/​blossom/​flower a seed germinates/​sprouts leaves/​buds/​roots/​shoots appear/​develop/​form flower buds swell/​open a fungus grows/​spreads/​colonizes something pollinate/​fertilize a flower/​plant produce/​release/​spread/​disperse pollen/​seeds/​spores produce/​bear fruit develop/​grow/​form roots/​shoots/​leaves provide/​supply/​absorb/​extract/​release nutrients perform/​increase/​reduce photosynthesisBacteria and viruses bacteria/​microbes/​viruses grow/​spread/​multiply bacteria/​microbes live/​thrive in/​on something bacteria/​microbes/​viruses evolve/​colonize something/​cause disease bacteria break something down/​convert something (into something) a virus enters/​invades something/​the body a virus mutates/​evolves/​replicates (itself) be infected with/​contaminated with/​exposed to a new strain of a virus/​drug-resistant bacteria contain/​carry/​harbour (especially US English) harbor bacteria/​a virus kill/​destroy/​eliminate harmful/​deadly bacteria see also coarse fish, flatfish, sea fish, shellfish, wet fish See related entries: Fish
  2. 2   [uncountable] the flesh of fish eaten as food frozen/smoked/fresh fish fish pie The chef's fish dishes are his speciality. Fish forms the main part of their diet.
  3. Word OriginOld English fisc (as a noun denoting any animal living exclusively in water), fiscian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vis, vissen and German Fisch, fischen.Extra examples He landed a big fish. He landed one very big fish. I cleaned and filleted the fish. Remove the skin and flake the cooked fish. The fish aren’t biting today. The fish aren’t biting= taking the bait today. This fish tastes funny. fish farmed in Canada the depletion of fish stocksIdioms
    be like shooting fish in a barrel
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    (informal) used to emphasize how easy it is to do something What do you mean you can't do it? It'll be like shooting fish in a barrel!
    a big fish (in a small pond)
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    an important person (in a small community)
    a person who seems unfriendly and without strong emotions
    a different kettle of fish
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    (informal) a completely different situation or person from the one previously mentioned
    to drink a lot of alcohol regularly a person who feels uncomfortable or awkward because he or she is in surroundings that are not familiar
    have bigger/other fish to fry
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    to have more important or more interesting things to do
    neither one thing nor another The hovercraft has always suffered from the fact that it is neither fish nor fowl. (old-fashioned, British English) a person who is slightly strange or crazy See related entries: Describing strange traits
    there are plenty more fish in the sea
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    there are many other people or things that are as good as the one somebody has failed to get
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: fish