Piranhas

piranha

[pi-rahn-yuh, -ran- or, often, -rah-nuh, -ran-uh]
noun, plural piranhas (especially collectively) piranha.
any of several small South American freshwater fishes of the genus Serrasalmus that eat other fish and sometimes plants but occasionally also attack humans and other large animals that enter the water.
Also called caribe.


Origin:
1865–70; < Portuguese < Tupi

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World English Dictionary
piranha or piraña (pɪˈrɑːnjə)
 
n
any of various small freshwater voracious fishes of the genus Serrasalmus and related genera, of tropical America, having strong jaws and sharp teeth: family Characidae (characins)
 
[C19: via Portuguese from Tupi: fish with teeth, from pirá fish + sainha tooth]
 
piraña or piraña
 
n
 
[C19: via Portuguese from Tupi: fish with teeth, from pirá fish + sainha tooth]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

piranha
1869, from Port. piranha, from Tupi (Brazil) pira nya, variant of pira'ya, lit. "scissors."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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