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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Fish


FISH, noun [Latin piscis.]

1. An animal that lives in water. fish is a general name for a class of animals subsisting in water, which were distributed by Linne into six orders. They breathe by means of gills, swim by the aid of fins, and are oviparous. Some of them have the skeleton bony, and others cartilaginous. Most of the former have the opening of the gills closed by a peculiar covering, called the gill-lid; many of the latter have no gill-lid, and are hence said to breathe through apertures. Cetaceous animals, as the whale and dolphin, are, in popular language, called fishes, and have been so classed by some naturalists; but they breathe by lungs, and are viviparous, like quadrupeds. The term fish has been also extended to other aquatic animals, such as shell-fish, lobsters, etc. We use fish in the singular, for fishes in general or the whole race.

2. The flesh of fish used as food. But we usually apply flesh to land animals.

FISH, verb intransitive

1. To attempt to catch fish; to be employed in taking fish by any means, as by angling or drawing nets.

2. To attempt or seek to obtain by artifice, or indirectly to seek to draw forth; as, to fish for compliments.

FISH, verb transitive

1. To search by raking or sweeping; as, to fish the jakes for papers.

2. In seamanship, to strengthen, as a mast or yard, with a piece of timber.

3. To catch; draw out or up; as, to fish up a human body when sunk; to fish an anchor.

FISH, noun

1. In ships, a machine to hoist and draw up the flukes of an anchor, towards the top of the bow.

2. A long piece of timber, used to strengthen a lower mast or a yard, when sprung or damaged.