silverfish

/sil"veuhr fish'/, n., pl. (esp. collectively) silverfish, (esp. 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.
[1695-1705; SILVER + FISH]

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Species (Lepisma saccharina) of quick-moving, slender, flat, wingless insect having three tail bristles and silvery scales.

Silverfish are found worldwide. Females deposit fertilized eggs in cracks and hidden places. The hatched young are scaleless and have short appendages. Silverfish normally live indoors and, because they eat starchy materials (e.g., paste, bookbindings, and wallpaper), can cause much damage. They live two to three years and molt throughout life.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • silverfish — [sil′vərfish΄] n. 1. pl. silverfish or silverfishes (see FISH) any of various fishes of a silvery color, as the tarpon or silverside 2. silverfish any of various families of primitive, wingless thysanuran insects with silvery scales, long feelers …   English World dictionary

  • Silverfish — Sil ver*fish , n. 1. (Zo[ o]l.) (a) The tarpum. (b) A white variety of the goldfish. [1913 Webster] 2. one of a variety of insects of the order {Thysanura}, especially {Lepisma saccharina}, which may infest houses, and eats starched clothing and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • silverfish — (n.) 1703, in reference to various types of silver colored fish (Cf. Ger. Silberfisch, Du. zilvervisch); from SILVER (Cf. silver) + FISH (Cf. fish) (n.). In reference to a type of insect (also known as springtail), it is attested from 1855 …   Etymology dictionary

  • silverfish — ► NOUN ▪ a small silvery wingless insect that lives in buildings …   English terms dictionary

  • Silverfish — Taxobox name = Lepisma saccharina image width = 200px regnum = Animalia phylum = Arthropoda classis = Insecta ordo = Thysanura familia = Lepismatidae genus = Lepisma species = L. saccharina binomial = Lepisma saccharina binomial authority =… …   Wikipedia

  • silverfish — UK [ˈsɪlvə(r)ˌfɪʃ] / US [ˈsɪlvərˌfɪʃ] noun [countable] Word forms silverfish : singular silverfish plural silverfish or silverfishes an insect with a grey or silver body that often causes damage to paper products or clothing …   English dictionary

  • silverfish — Lepisma Le*pis ma (l[ e]*p[i^]z m[.a]), n. [NL., fr. Gr. le pisma peel, fr. lepi s i dos, a scale.] (Zo[ o]l.) A genus of wingless thysanurous insects having an elongated flattened body, covered with shining scales and terminated by seven unequal …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • silverfish — Tarpum Tar pum, n. (Zo[ o]l.) A very large marine fish ({Megapolis Atlanticus}) of the Southern United States and the West Indies. It often becomes six or more feet in length, and has large silvery scales. The scales are a staple article of trade …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • silverfish — sil|ver|fish [ˈsılvəfıʃ US ər ] n plural silverfish or silverfishes a small silver coloured insect that cannot fly and is found in houses …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • silverfish — noun plural silverfish or silverfishes (C) a small silver coloured insect that is found in houses and sometimes damages paper or cloth …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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