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[kraw-fish] /ˈkrɔˌfɪʃ/
noun, plural (especially collectively) crawfish (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) crawfishes.
verb (used without object), crawfished, crawfishing.
Informal. to back out or retreat from a position or undertaking.
Origin of crawfish
1615-25; earlier crafish, cravish, cravis, variant outcomes of Middle French crevice crayfish Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for crawfish
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  • Most eyestones are a calcareous deposit, found in the shell of the common European crawfish.

    A Busy Year at the Old Squire's Charles Asbury Stephens
  • Little was eaten at dinner, for they had done too much honor to the crawfish at noon.

    Fruitfulness Emile Zola
  • There is an account in the volume of crawfish aux truffes la Sampayo, which makes one almost frantic with hunger.

  • The Riverlawns were encamped at the foot of a hill not far from crawfish Springs.

    An Undivided Union Oliver Optic
  • Toward this bush he crept, but like a crawfish, feet foremost.

    The Delight Makers Adolf Bandelier
British Dictionary definitions for crawfish


noun (pl) -fish, -fishes
a variant (esp US) of crayfish (sense 2)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for crawfish

1620s, generally dismissed by British etymologists as a 19c. American English variant of crayfish, but perhaps it existed in Middle English. Also in 19c. American English as a verb, "to back out," in reference to the creature's movements.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for crawfish



To renege; retreat; back out: He started to crawfish when he realized who the competition was (1842+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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