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Some crayfish.

Alternative formsEdit


Alteration (by folk etymology, influenced by fish) of Middle English crevis, from Old French crevice ("crayfish"; > Modern French: écrevisse), from Old Frankish *krebitja (crayfish), diminutive of Old Frankish *krebit (crab), from Proto-Germanic *krabitaz (crab, cancer), from Proto-Indo-European *grebʰ-, *gerebʰ- (to scratch, crawl). Akin to Old High German krebiz ("edible crustacean, crab"; > Modern German Krebs (crab)), Middle Low German krēvet (crab), Dutch kreeft (crayfish, lobster), Old English crabba (crab). More at crab.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkɹeɪˌfɪʃ/
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crayfish (plural crayfishes or crayfish)

  1. Any of numerous freshwater decapod crustaceans in superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea, resembling the related lobster but usually much smaller.
    1. (New England, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota) A freshwater crustacean (family Cambaridae), sometimes used as an inexpensive seafood or as fish bait.
  2. (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) A rock lobster (family Palinuridae).

Usage notesEdit

The term crayfish predominates in the region of New England and in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. In much of the United States—in the South, especially in Louisiana and Texas; in the Midwest and in the West—crawfish predominates. In a belt stretching across Kentucky through Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and in Oregon and northern California, the term crawdad predominates.[1]


Derived termsEdit



crayfish (third-person singular simple present crayfishes, present participle crayfishing, simple past and past participle crayfished)

  1. to catch crayfish
  2. Alternative form of crawfish (to backpedal, desert, or withdraw)


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ “Archived copy”, in (Please provide the title of the work)[1], accessed 29 July 2013, archived from the original on 6 June 2013

Further readingEdit