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[dawg-fish, dog-] /ˈdɔgˌfɪʃ, ˈdɒg-/
noun, plural (especially collectively) dogfish (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) dogfishes.
any of several small sharks, especially of the genera Mustelus and Squalus, that are destructive to food fishes.
any of various other fishes, as the bowfin.
Origin of dogfish
1425-75; earlier dokefyche; late Middle English. See dog, fish Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for dogfish


noun (pl) -fish, -fishes
any of several small spotted European sharks, esp Scyliorhinus caniculus (lesser spotted dogfish): family Scyliorhinidae
any small shark of the family Squalidae, esp Squalus acanthias (spiny dogfish), typically having a spine on each dorsal fin
any small smooth-skinned shark of the family Triakidae, esp Mustelus canis (smooth dogfish or smooth hound)
a less common name for the bowfin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for dogfish

a name for various types of small shark, late 15c., dokefyche, from dog (n.) + fish (n.). Said to be so called because they hunt in packs. This was the image of sharks in classical antiquity as well.

But in the Mediterranean, among the Greeks and Romans of antiquity, closer contact with sharks had left an impression of vicious dogs of the sea. Thus, Pliny's canis marinus. The metaphor of the dog spread to the North to dominate the European image of the shark, from the Italian pescecane and French chien de mer to the German Meerhund and Hundfisch and English sea dog and dogfish. [Tom Jones, "The Xoc, the Sharke and the Sea Dogs," in "Fifth Palenque Round Table, 1983," edited by Virginia M. Field, 1985.]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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