oarfish

[awr-fish, ohr-]
noun, plural (especially collectively) oarfish (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) oarfishes.
any long, ribbon-shaped, silvery fish of the genus Regalecus, of deep tropical waters, having a red dorsal fin along the spine that rises to a crest, and reaching a length of 30 feet (9 meters).
Also called ribbonfish.


Origin:
1855–60; oar + fish

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World English Dictionary
oarfish (ˈɔːˌfɪʃ)
 
n , pl -fish, -fishes
Also called: king of the herrings a very long ribbonfish, Regalecus glesne, with long slender ventral fins
 
[C19: referring to the flattened oarlike body]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
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oarfish

(species Regalecus glesne), large, long, sinuous fish of the family Regalecidae (order Lampridiformes), found throughout the tropics and subtropics in rather deep water. A ribbon-shaped fish, very thin from side to side, the oarfish may grow to a length of about 9 m (30.5 feet) and a weight of 300 kg (660 pounds). It is shiny silver in colour, with long, red, oarlike pelvic fins and a long, red dorsal fin that rises as a manelike crest on top of the head. Seldom seen at the surface, it is credited as the "sea serpent" of some reported sightings.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Sick and dying oarfish float at the surface, which is why old-time sailors mistook them for sea serpents.
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