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See also: Roach


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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English roche, from Old French roche, from Middle Low German roche, ruche (ray (fish)), from Old Saxon *rūh, possibly from Proto-Germanic *rūhaz (rough).

Cognate with Old English ruhha ("a ray"; > Middle English rouhe, rohȝe), German Rochen (ray (fish)).

a common roach (Rutilus rutilus)


roach (plural roach)

  1. Certain members of the fish family Cyprinidae, including:
    1. Any fish of species in the genus Rutilus, especially:
      1. A common roach (Rutilus rutilus)
    2. A California roach, of the monotypic genus Hesperoleucus
Derived terms[edit]


Etymology 2[edit]

Back-formation from cockroach, as if it were a compound. Marijuana-related meanings by similarity of appearance of the butt, attested since the 1930s.


roach (plural roaches)

  1. (US) A cockroach.
  2. (US, slang, smoking) The butt of a marijuana cigarette.
  3. (US, slang, smoking) An entire marijuana cigarette, blunt, or joint.
    • 1957, Alfred Maund, The Big Boxcar, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, →ISBN, page 106:
      In his half hour of free time between brooms it was Willie's custom to smoke his lunch in an alleyway. He'd take just half a roach, only enough to make him feel a new day was starting, no more no less.
  4. (UK, slang, smoking) The filter of a rolled cigarette or joint, made from card or paper.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Apparently from extended or figurative use of roach (Cyprinidae), above. Compare the adjective roached (styled so that the mane stands up from the neck).

a roach as worn by a chief of the Osage tribe

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


roach (plural roaches)

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Particularly: "nautical sense"
  1. (nautical) Sail material that forms a concave curve rather than straight leech (aft edge) of a sail to increase the sail area over that of a simple triangular sail.
  2. A haircut or a similar-looking kind of headdress worn by some of the indigenous peoples of North America, often red.
Derived terms[edit]


roach (third-person singular simple present roaches, present participle roaching, simple past and past participle roached)

  1. (transitive) To cut or shave off the mane of a horse so that the remaining hair stands up on the neck.
  2. (transitive, by extension) To cut a person's hair so that it stands straight up.
Derived terms[edit]


Etymology 4[edit]

Variant of roche (rock). Attested since the seventeenth century.


roach (plural roaches)

  1. (UK, obsolete, mining) A bed or stratum of some mineral.
    • 1749, Rog. Mostyn, “Mineralogy”, in Philosophical Transactions and Collections to the End of the Year, volume II, London: Royal Society, →OCLC, page 379:
      After long Working of this Coal, it was found upon the rising Grounds, that there lay another Roach of Coal, at the Depth of 14 Yards under it
  2. (UK, regional) Gritty or coarse rock; especially Portland stone or similar limestone.
    • 1841, C.H. Smith, “Lithology; or Observations on Stone for Building”, in The Surveyor, Engineer, and Architect, →OCLC, page 13:
      The roach, both of the top and bottom beds, is always imperceptibly incorporated with the freestone, which is invariable situated beneath it.