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Etymology 1[edit]

First attested early 1400s as various Middle English forms prayne, prane, praune, and prawne, which present no clear cognates in languages other than English. The forms suggest a hypothetical Old English form containing *æg, evolving into Middle English *ay, but it is unclear if the word is of Germanic origin or loaned from a substrate.


  • IPA(key): /pɹɔːn/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔːn


prawn (countable and uncountable, plural prawn or prawns)

  1. A shrimp of the suborder Dendrobranchiata.
  2. (Commonwealth of Nations) A large shrimp
  3. (slang) A woman with a very toned body, but an unattractive face.
    She's a prawn!
  4. (Australia) A fool, an idiot.
    • 1999 August 2, Les Brown, “This old "almah" controversy”, in alt.religion.christian, Usenet[1]:
      This is utter dribble. I've not read much worse than this in a long time - and he admits he doesn't know - "or so I am told". Get real, you prawn.
    • 2001 February 1, Ned Latham, “Lovesick Puppy Poetry - Volume 1”, in aus.culture.true-blue, Usenet[2]:
      He didn't say he was accused of that, prawn.
Derived terms[edit]


prawn (third-person singular simple present prawns, present participle prawning, simple past and past participle prawned)

  1. (intransitive) To fish for prawns.

Etymology 2[edit]


prawn (plural prawns)

  1. Alternative form of porn


  • Oxford English Dictionary, 1884–1928, and First Supplement, 1933.
  • Århammar, Nils (1986): Aspects of Language: Geolinguistics