English

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A walking catfish
 
A talking catfish

Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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From cat +‎ fish. Likely so named for its prominent barbels like a cat's whiskers. Compare West Frisian katfisk (catfish), Dutch katvis (catfish). Compare also German Seekatze (catfish, literally sea-cat).

Noun

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catfish (countable and uncountable, plural catfish or catfishes)

  1. Any fish of the order Siluriformes, mainly found in fresh water, lacking scales, and having barbels like whiskers around the mouth.
    Synonyms: (Africa) catlet, sheat, sheatfish, river chicken
    • 2013, Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being, Canongate Books (2019), page 213:
      “You don’t see catfish that big anymore, except in Chernobyl [] Nobody fishes there anymore, so the catfish thrive. They’ve gotten really enormous, some even twelve or thirteen feet long. They’re bottom-feeders, and apparently the mud still contains a lot of radioactive particles, but the catfish don’t seem to mind.”
  2. The meat of such a fish, popular in the Southern U.S. and Central Europe.
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Translations
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Verb

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catfish (third-person singular simple present catfishes, present participle catfishing, simple past and past participle catfished)

  1. To fish for catfish.
    I only use this rod for catfishing.
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See also

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Etymology 2

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From the 2010 documentary Catfish, supposedly inspired by the practice of fishermen keeping cod active by storing them with catfish (see sense 1) which nip at their tails.

Noun

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catfish (plural catfishes)

  1. (Internet) Someone who creates a fake profile on a social media platform in order to deceive people.
    Synonym: catfisher
  2. (Internet) Such a fake profile.
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Verb

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catfish (third-person singular simple present catfishes, present participle catfishing, simple past and past participle catfished)

  1. (Internet, slang, transitive) To create and operate a fake online profile to deceive (someone).
    • 2013 January 17, Mary Pilon, “In Te’o Story, Deception Ripped From the Screen”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      Getting catfished is when someone falls for a person online who is not necessarily real. It can involve pictures, phone calls, social media profiles, text messages, e-mails and even phony friends or family members.
    • 2014 January 16, 12:17 from the start, in Cooperative Polygraphy (Community), season 5, episode 4 (TV), spoken by Troy (Donald Glover), via NBC:
      [to Abed] You made a profile for a fake dude and lured her into an online relationship. [to Annie] He's catfishing you.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:catfish.
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Translations
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Further reading

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Anagrams

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