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[jel-ee-fish] /ˈdʒɛl iˌfɪʃ/
noun, plural (especially collectively) jellyfish (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) jellyfishes.
any of various marine coelenterates of a soft, gelatinous structure, especially one with an umbrellalike body and long, trailing tentacles; medusa.
Informal. a person without strong resolve or stamina; an indecisive or weak person.
Origin of jellyfish
1700-10; 1910-15 for def 2; jelly + fish Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for jellyfish
  • Set against the sea, he was as inconsequential as a jellyfish.
  • jellyfish are common visitors to many beaches, so teach kids to keep their eyes peeled for these stinging animals.
  • Their nets are trapping jellyfish: giant, gelatinous, wobbly and worthless.
  • In this case, to prove the point, the gene they introduced was for green fluorescent protein-a molecule derived from jellyfish.
  • jellyfish come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
  • New research is suggesting that jellyfish and other small ocean dwellers might play a big role in mixing the ocean's waters.
  • Some jellyfish, algae and bacteria produce light-activated ion pumps and channels.
  • Already, human impacts on the ocean are large, from spurring jellyfish to dominate to boosting algae blooms and dead zones.
  • Increases in jellyfish blooms also are likely to be part of the process.
  • jellyfish are among the only living things to thrive in the oxygen-starved waters of expanding dead zones.
British Dictionary definitions for jellyfish


noun (pl) -fish, -fishes
any marine medusoid coelenterate of the class Scyphozoa, having a gelatinous umbrella-shaped body with trailing tentacles
any other medusoid coelenterate
(informal) a weak indecisive person
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 jellyfish

popular name of the medusa and similar sea-creatures, 1796, from jelly (n.) + fish (n.). Earlier it had been used of a type of actual fish (1707).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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jellyfish in Medicine

jellyfish jel·ly·fish (jěl'ē-fĭsh')
n. pl jellyfish or jel·ly·fish·es

  1. Any of numerous marine coelenterates of the class Scyphozoa, some poisonous species of which notably the Portuguese man-of-war, produce a toxin that can be injected into the skin by nematocysts on the tentacles, causing linear wheals.

  2. Any of various similar or related coelenterates.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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