General English


  • Cold-blooded, free-swimming vertebrate animals with flat or spindle-shaped streamlined bodies which live either in fresh or seawater and obtain oxygen for respiration by circulating water over gills from which mammalian vertebrate lungs evolved. They have fins instead of limbs and their skin is usually covered with scales. Classified as freshwater, seawater, anadromous or catadromous, flat or round, oily or white and if flat, dextral or sinistral.


  • noun a woman. The term is typically used pejoratively by gay males, referring to the supposedly characteristic smell of the female genitalia.


  • noun a cold-blooded animal with fins and scales, that lives in water

Origin & History of “fish”

Fish goes back to an ancient Indo-European word *piskos, which produced on the one hand Latin piscis (source of French poisson, Italian pesce, Spanish pez, Breton pesk, and Welsh pysgodyn) and on the other Germanic *fiskaz (source of Gothic fisks, German fisch, Dutch visch, Swedish and Danish fisk, and English fish). (English, incidentally, gets piscatorial (19th c.), piscina (16th c.), and the zodiacal sign Pisces (14th c.) from Latin piscis.) But not all Indo-European languages share the word, by any means: Greek had ikhthús for ‘fish’ (whence English ichthyology ‘study of fish’ (17th c.)), and Russian, polish, and Czech have ryba.