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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
  • They went mushroom- and berry-picking regularly and had giant crawfish feasts whenever they could.
  • The larger snappers and groupers had disappeared completely, and crawfish were scarce.
  • Where there are no fish, even a crawfish calls himself a fish.
  • The accountants ate plates of crawfish, fried chicken and king cake.
  • She ordered lobster-and-crawfish bisque and a salad.
  • Appetizers including fish tacos, alligator or fried crawfish tails.
  • The soups include seafood and shrimp gumbo, crab bisque and seasonal house dishes include boiled or barbecued crabs and crawfish.
  • Strap on a bib and feast on barbecue crab, crawfish and lobster.
  • Survival of crawfish in natural burrows was positively correlated to burrow depth and water retention.
  • If using live crawfish, prepare as directed on other side.
British Dictionary definitions for crawfish


noun (pl) -fish, -fishes
a variant (esp US) of crayfish (sense 2)


noun (pl) -fish, -fishes
any freshwater decapod crustacean of the genera Astacus and Cambarus, resembling a small lobster
any of various similar crustaceans, esp the spiny lobster
Word Origin
C14: cray, by folk etymology, from Old French crevice crab, from Old High German krebiz + fish
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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