silverfish

silverfish

[sil-ver-fish]
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; silver + fish

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World English Dictionary
silverfish (ˈsɪlvəˌfɪʃ)
 
n , 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 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

silverfish
1703, in ref. to various types of silver-colored fish (cf. Ger. Silberfisch, Du. zilvervisch). In ref. to a type of insect (also known as springtail), it is attested from 1855.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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