Definition of killifish in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkilēˌfiSH/

noun (plural same or killifishes)

A small carplike fish of fresh, brackish, or salt water, typically brightly colored. They are mainly native to America and include many popular aquarium fishes.
  • Families Fundulidae and Cyprinodontidae, which include numerous genera of egg-laying killifishes.
Example sentences
  • Each year since 1960, more than 35 tropical American species of fishes, including catfishes, characins, electric fishes, killifishes, and cichlids, have been newly described and named.
  • Like other visitors, he sees the bustle of life around the mudflats from clams, snails, and crabs, to shorebirds and long-legged waders, and gobies and killifish in the shallows of the estuary.
  • The only primarily freshwater killifish in the Northeast is banded killifish.


Early 19th century: apparently from kill2 and fish1.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: kil·li·fish

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