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silverfish

[sil-ver-fish] /ˈsɪl vərˌfɪʃ/
noun, plural (especially collectively) silverfish (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) silverfishes.
1.
a white or silvery goldfish, Carassius auratus.
2.
any of various other silvery fishes, as the tarpon, silversides, or shiner.
3.
a wingless, silvery-gray thysanuran insect, Lepisma saccharina, that feeds on starch, damaging books, wallpaper, etc.
Origin
1695-1705
1695-1705; silver + fish
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for silverfish

silverfish

/ˈsɪlvəˌfɪʃ/
noun (pl) -fish, -fishes
1.
a silver variety of the goldfish Carassius auratus
2.
any of various other silvery fishes, such as the moonfish Monodactylus argenteus
3.
any of various small primitive wingless insects of the genus Lepisma, esp L. saccharina, that have long antennae and tail appendages and occur in buildings, feeding on food scraps, bookbindings, etc: order Thysanura (bristletails)
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 silverfish
n.

1703, in reference to various types of silver-colored fish (cf. German Silberfisch, Dutch zilvervisch); from silver + fish (n.). In reference to a type of household insect damaging to books, wallpaper, etc. (also known as silvertail and furniture-bug), it is attested from 1855.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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