any of the numerous fishes of the order or suborder Nematognathi (or Siluroidei), characterized by barbels around the mouth and the absence of scales.
a wolffish of the genus Anarhichas.
any of various other fishes having a fancied resemblance to a cat.
Slang. a person who assumes a false identity or personality on the Internet, especially on social-media websites, as to deceive, manipulate, or swindle.
Slang. to deceive, swindle, etc., by assuming a false identity or personality online:
He fell in love with her online before he realized he’d been catfished.
Contemporary Examples

“I just ended a project about a mythical story from Japan with a catfish that people thought created the earthquakes,” said Kath.
Oh Land and Eske Kath’s Visual Art Marlow Stern March 31, 2011

Like storm chasers, Alaskan crabbers, and catfish noodlers, foragers come with their own sets of customs and rules.
This Week’s Hot Reads: Sept. 2, 2013 Damaris Colhoun September 1, 2013

He chomped away, wreaking havoc with the catfish, burger, and pizza in no particular order.
John Grisham’s First Short Story: Part Two John Grisham October 25, 2009

A sop to lawmakers who represent congressional districts consisting entirely of catfish ponds.
Up to a Point: P.J. O’Rourke on Valentine’s Day and Oral Hygiene P. J. O’Rourke February 13, 2014

Good news is that $20 million DoA catfish office has comfy chairs and recent issues of catfish newsletters and magazines.
Up to a Point: P.J. O’Rourke on Valentine’s Day and Oral Hygiene P. J. O’Rourke February 13, 2014

Historical Examples

Normally the water was about six inches deep in the mainstream as it ran over a riffle adjacent to the catfish nest.
Fish Populations, Following a Drought, in the Neosho and Marais des Cygnes Rivers of Kansas James Everett Deacon

And the Germans, the vainest race in Europe, rose like catfish to the bait.
Old Fogy James Huneker

Mout as well be sarchin fur fleas on a catfish ez fer jestis in dis kote.
The Broken Sword Dennison Worthington

The people were divided into two factions, the ‘codfish’ and the ‘catfish.’
History of Linn County Iowa Luther A. Brewer

As fast as the catfish were caught they were skinned and dressed.
The Trail Boys on the Plains Jay Winthrop Allen

noun (pl) -fish, -fishes
any of numerous mainly freshwater teleost fishes having whisker-like barbels around the mouth, esp the silurids of Europe and Asia and the horned pouts of North America
another name for wolffish

1610s, from cat (n.) + fish (n.). Probably so called for its “whiskers.”


Read Also:

  • Cat-flea

    See under flea. any of numerous small, wingless bloodsucking insects of the order Siphonaptera, parasitic upon mammals and birds and noted for their ability to leap. either of two common fleas of the genus Ctenocephalides, the very small, black C. felis (cat flea) or the similar but larger C. canis (dog flea) both of which […]

  • Cat flu

    noun (vet science) an upper respiratory-tract infection in cats, resulting in sneezing, ocular and nasal discharges, and coughs

  • Cat-foot

    to move in the soft, stealthy manner of a cat; pussyfoot. Historical Examples Be off, old pray-lip—off, and take with you Your cat-foot peace and milky piety! The Mortal Gods and Other Plays Olive Tilford Dargan

  • Catgut

    a strong cord made by twisting the dried intestines of animals, as sheep, used in stringing musical instruments and tennis rackets, for surgical sutures, etc. goat’s-rue. Historical Examples Simultaneously, the jockeys sat down to ridethere was the cruel swish of catgut, the crueler prodding of steel. Ainslee’s, Vol. 15, No. 5, June 1905 Various The […]

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