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I don't think that's a noun. In "Phishing attacks" or "Phishing cons" that's a gerund used as an adjective. I would not call the document in my inbox "a phishing", but the conmen sending them out are phishing.

I agree. A Google search shows "phished" and "phisher" also being used in the mainstream media. Ortonmc 21:41, 15 Apr 2004 (UTC)
It's a verbal noun (also known as a gerund) and a verbal adjective, in the same way as "fishing" is a verbal noun (the action of the verb "to fish") and a verbal adjective (as in "fishing rod"). Hence is could be marked up as "noun" and "adjective", or "verbal noun" and "verbal adjective", or "gerund" and "verbal adjective".
While it is not possible to say "a phishing", the failure of this test does not mean that "phishing" is not a noun; it is in fact an uncountable noun. -- Paul G 09:26, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Although it is useful, I think the advice at the bottom should be removed. It does nothing to define the word and is not part of the remit of Wiktionary, in my view. Similar advice is given in Wikipedia. I will comment out this text and replace it with a cross-reference. -- Paul G 09:29, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)


The word is a variant of fishing as stated in the article, but it has nothing to do with 'phone' and 'phat'.

In the UseNet News Groups (, etc), 2600 cracker and pirate groups used variant spellings of phish and warez to be evade scans and filters by mainstream servers policing ARPAnet/internet.

Phat is some kind of valley talk that came long after.

I'll make the change if no one objects.

--UnicornTapestry 05:01, 30 June 2009 (UTC)