- A freshwater crustacean resembling the lobster, found in unpolluted streams and lakes but now generally farmed. Crayfish breed in autumn and are best caught in summer. Cooked as lobster. The European variety, Astacus fluviatilis, is about the size of a Dublin Bay prawn. Some Australian varieties can weigh up to 6 kg. Most make excellent eating.
- The name is often used indiscriminately for crayfish, crawfish and similar crustaceans with or without claws, especially in the USA
- noun a kind of freshwater crustacean like a small lobster
Origin & History of “crayfish”
The crayfish is related etymologically as well as biologically to the crab. The Old high German word for ‘crab’ was krebiz (source of modern German krebs). this was borrowed into Old French as crevice (modern French has preserved the variant form écrevisse), and transmitted to middle English as crevis. Association of the final syllable with fish led by the 16th century to its transformation to crayfish (a variant Middle English form cravis became crawfish).