Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of shark
Meaning of shark by Wiktionary Dictionary



    • IPA: /ʃɑː( r )k/
    • Rhymes: -ɑː( r )k

    Etymology 1

    First attested in the 1560s, the word meaning 'scaleless fish' is of uncertain origin: it was apparently brought to England, with a specimen, by John Hawkins. The word may derive from the Maya xoc, or it may be an application of the "scoundrel" sense ( which derives from the German Schurke ( “scoundrel” ) ) to the fish; no explanation is agreed upon.[1]

    Alternative form


    shark ( plural: sharks )

    1. A scaleless, predatory fish of the superorder Selachimorpha, with a cartilaginous skeleton and 5 to 7 gill slits on each side of its head.
    Derived terms

    Etymology 2

    From the German Schurke ( “scoundrel” ) .


    shark ( plural: sharks )

    1. ( informal, derogatory ) A sleazy and amoral lawyer; an ambulance chaser .
    2. ( informal ) A relentless and resolute person or group, especially in business .
    3. ( informal ) A very good poker or pool player .
    4. ( sports and games ) A person who feigns ineptitude to win money from others .
    Usage notes
    Derived terms


Explanation of shark by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. hunt shark

    2. play the shark

    1. any of numerous elongate mostly marine carnivorous fishes with heterocercal caudal fins and tough skin covered with small toothlike scales

    2. a person who is unusually skilled in certain ways

    3. a card shark
    4. a person who is ruthless and greedy and dishonest

    Definition of shark by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Shark ( shärk ), n. [Of uncertain origin; perhaps through OF. fr. carcharus a kind of dogfish, Gr. καρχαρίας, so called from its sharp teeth, fr. κάρχαρος having sharp or jagged teeth; or perhaps named from its rapacity ( cf. Shark, v. t. & i. ); cf. Corn. scarceas.]
      1. ( Zool. ) Any one of numerous species of elasmobranch fishes of the order Plagiostomi, found in all seas.

      ☞ Some sharks, as the basking shark and the whale shark, grow to an enormous size, the former becoming forty feet or more, and the latter sixty feet or more, in length. Most of them are harmless to man, but some are exceedingly voracious. The man-eating sharks mostly belong to the genera Carcharhinus, Carcharodon, and related genera. They have several rows of large sharp teeth with serrated edges, as the great white shark ( Carcharodon carcharias or Carcharodon Rondeleti ) of tropical seas, and the great blue shark ( Carcharhinus glaucus syn. Prionace glauca ) of all tropical and temperate seas. The former sometimes becomes thirty-six feet long, and is the most voracious and dangerous species known. The rare man-eating shark of the United States coast ( Carcharodon Atwoodi ) is thought by some to be a variety, or the young, of Carcharodon carcharias. The dusky shark ( Carcharhinus obscurus ) is a common species on the coast of the United States of moderate size and not dangerous. It feeds on shellfish and botto
      m fishes.

      The original 1913 Webster also mentioned a “smaller blue shark ( C. caudatus )Alopias vulpinus )

      Bigeye thresher ( Alopias superciliosus )

      Oceanic whitetip shark ( Carcharhinus longimanus )

      Sevengill shark ( Heptrachias perlo )

      Sixgill shark ( Hexanchus griseus )

      Bigeye sixgill shark ( Hexanchus vitulus )

      Shortfin mako ( Isurus oxyrinchus )

      Longfin mako ( Isurus paucus )

      Porbeagle ( Lamna nasus )

      Blue shark ( Prionace glauca )

      Large Coastal Sharks

      Sandbar shark ( Carcharhinus plumbeus )

      Reef shark ( Carcharhinus perezi )

      Blacktip shark ( Carcharhinus limbatus )

      Dusky shark ( Carcharhinus obscurus )

      Spinner shark ( Carcharhinus brevipinna )

      Silky shark ( Carcharhinus falciformis )

      Bull shark ( Carcharhinus leucas )

      Bignose shark ( Carcharhinus altimus )

      Galapagos shark ( Carcharhinus galapagensis )

      Night shark ( Carcharhinus signatus )

      White shark ( Carcharodon carcharias )

      Basking shark ( Cetorhinus maximus )

      Tiger shark ( Galeocerdo cuvier )

      Nurse shark ( Ginglymostoma cirratum )

      Lemon shark ( Negaprion brevirostris )

      Ragged-tooth shark ( Odontaspis ferox )

      Whale shark ( Rhincodon typus )

      Scalloped hammerhead ( Sphyrna lewini )

      Great hammerhead ( Sphyrna mokarran )

      Smooth hammerhead ( Sphyrna zygaena )

      Small Coastal Sharks

      Finetooth shark ( Carcharhinus isodon )

      Blacknose shark ( Carcharhinus acronotus )

      Atlantic sharpnose shark ( Rhizoprionodon erraenovae )

      Caribbean sharpnose shark ( Rhizoprionodon porosus )

      Bonnethead ( Sphyrna tiburo )

      Atlantic angel shark ( Squatina dumeril )

      2. A rapacious, artful person; a sharper. [Colloq.]

      3. Trickery; fraud; petty rapine; as, “to live upon the shark”. [Obs.] South.

      Basking shark, Liver shark, Nurse shark, Oil shark, Sand shark, Tiger shark, etc. See under Basking, Liver, etc. See also Dogfish, Houndfish, Notidanian, and Tope. -- Gray shark, the sand shark. -- Hammer-headed shark. See Hammerhead. -- Port Jackson shark. See Cestraciont. -- Shark barrow, the eggcase of a shark; a sea purse. -- Shark ray. Same as Angel fish under Angel. -- Thrasher shark or Thresher shark, a large, voracious shark. See Thrasher. -- Whale shark, a huge harmless shark ( Rhinodon typicus ) of the Indian Ocean. It becomes sixty feet or more in length, but has very small teeth.

    2. Shark, v. t. [Of uncertain origin; perhaps fr. shark, n., or perhaps related to E. shear ( as hearken to hear ), and originally meaning, to clip off. Cf. Shirk.] To pick or gather indiscriminately or covertly. [Obs.] Shak.

    3. Shark, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Sharked ; p. pr. & vb. n. Sharking.]
      1. To play the petty thief; to practice fraud or trickery; to swindle.

      Neither sharks for a cup or a reckoning. Bp. Earle.

      2. To live by shifts and stratagems. Beau. & Fl.