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Compound of Tinte (ink) +‎ -n- +‎ Fisch (fish).

Attested from the 17th century, as dinten Fisch, equated with Meerspin "sea-spider" in Joseph du Chesne or Duchesne (Josephus Quercetanus), Johan Adolff Ringelstein Diaeteticon polyhistoricum (Straßburg, 1625), p. 218.

Glossed as synonymous with sepia (cuttlefish) or Sepia in Tilesius, Verzeichnis verschiedener Fische und Krebse des adriatischen Meerbusens (Triest, 1796), p. 45 and in Samuel Schilling, Ausführliche Naturgeschichte des Thier-, Pflanzen- und Mineralreichs vol. 3 (1839), p. 134. Later extended to other members of Coleoidea. Glossed as synonymous with Octopus in Globus vol. 61 (1892), p. 195.


  • IPA(key): /ˈtɪntn̩ˌfɪʃ/, /ˈtɪntənˌfɪʃ/
  • (file)


Tintenfisch m (strong, genitive Tintenfisches or Tintenfischs, plural Tintenfische)

  1. any member of the Coleoidea subclass of cephalopods; more specifically of cuttlefish, but also of species of octopus, squid etc.

Usage notes[edit]

  • German-speakers without special knowledge of marine biology usually make no distinction between cuttlefish, octopus, and squid, calling all of them Tintenfisch and making this word a synonym of the less common Oktopus.


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