General English


  • Small white transparent to grey brown crustaceans generally much smaller than prawns and cooked as soon as caught. Used fresh cooked and shelled in potted shrimps and shrimp salads and also either shelled or unshelled as a snack food. They are also salted and dried for use in Chinese cooking.
  • A general term used for assorted species of prawns and shrimps


  • noun a small shellfish with a long tail

Origin & History of “shrimp”

The shrimp’s name appears to echo its small size. It was probably borrowed from some Low German source, and its possible relatives include middle Low German schrempen ‘shrink, wrinkle’ and modern German schrumpfen ‘shrivel, shrink’. Its use for a ‘tiny person’ is virtually as old in English as its application to the crustacean, and probably goes right back to its original source.