From Middle English laumprei, borrowed from Old French lampreie (modern French lamproie), from Medieval Latin lampreda, possibly alteration of Late Latin lampetra (“lamprey”), whose further origin is unknown, though is traditionally thought to be a combination of lambō (“I lick, lap”) + petra (“stone, rock”). Doublet of limpet, which came straightway from Latin.
- Any long slender primitive eel-like freshwater and saltwater fish of the Petromyzontidae family, having a sucking mouth with rasping teeth but no jaw.
- lamprey in Oxford English Dictionary, volume VI, 1908
- lamprey in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.