piranha

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See also: Piranha

English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

First attested in 1869.[1] The first part of the term is from Old Tupi pirá(fish). There are several theories regarding the source of second part, including:

  • It may be from Old Tupi sanha, sainha(tooth), or a Guaraní cognate of the same.[1]
  • It may be from Old Tupi ánha, anhá(cut) (which also meant "bad" or "devil" in Tupi-Guarani).[2]
  • The full term may have been pira nya, a variant of pira'ya(scissor-fish), in Old Tupi.[1]

The term entered English via Portuguese (as piranha) and Spanish (as piraña).

Noun[edit]

piranha ‎(plural piranhas)

  1. Any of the carnivorous freshwater fish living in South American rivers and belonging to the subfamily Serrasalminae.

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 piranha” in Dictionary.com Unabridged, v1.0.1, Lexico Publishing Group, 2006.
  2. ^ Britton, A. Scott. Guaraní: Guaraní-English, English-Guaraní ; concise dictionary. New York: Hippocrene Books, 2005. Print.

Italian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Tupi.

Noun[edit]

piranha m ‎(invariable)

  1. piranha

Portuguese[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Tupi.

Noun[edit]

piranha f (plural piranhas)

  1. piranha
  2. (pejorative, vulgar, Brazil) slut