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[pi-rahn-yuh, -ran- or, often, -rah-nuh, -ran-uh] /pɪˈrɑn yə, -ˈræn- or, often, -ˈrɑ nə, -ˈræn ə/
noun, plural piranhas (especially collectively) piranha.
any of several small South American freshwater fishes of the genus Serrasalmus that eat other fish and sometimes plants but occasionally also attack humans and other large animals that enter the water.
Also called caribe.
Origin of piranha
1865-70; < Portuguese < Tupi Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for piranha
  • You'll travel through a flooded forest during the wet season before spending a few hours fishing for piranha.
  • These may include piranha fishing, visits to remote villages and rainforest hikes.
  • Additional activities include lagoon swimming, canoeing, piranha fishing and bird watching.
  • From the campsite, travelers can participate in daily hikes and fishing trips, with the chance of catching piranha.
  • People get to see that he really is a cut-throat piranha.
  • The midge is species of invisible, flying piranha known to eat the flesh off the bones of a photographer in minutes.
  • At one point, using a fishing line, he caught a piranha.
  • As a result, the piranha scene is a popular topic amongst fans of the film.
British Dictionary definitions for piranha


any of various small freshwater voracious fishes of the genus Serrasalmus and related genera, of tropical America, having strong jaws and sharp teeth: family Characidae (characins)
Word Origin
C19: via Portuguese from Tupi: fish with teeth, from pirá fish + sainha tooth
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 piranha

also pirana, 1869, from Portuguese piranha, from Tupi (Brazil) pira nya, variant of pira'ya, literally "scissors."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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