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See also: SHRIMP and Shrimp


A shrimp (crustacean)
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From Middle English schrimpe (shrimp, puny person), ultimately from Proto-Germanic *skrimpaz (shrivelled) (compare Middle High German schrimpf (a scratch, minor wound), Norwegian skramp (thin horse, thin man)), from Proto-Germanic *skrimpaną (to shrivel) (compare Old English sċrimman (to shrink) and scrimp, Middle High German schrimpfen (to shrink, dry up), Swedish skrympa (to shrink)), from Proto-Indo-European *skremb-, *skr̥mb- (compare Lithuanian skrembti (to crust over, stiffen), and possibly Albanian shkrumb (embers, ashes; crumble)).


  • IPA(key): /ʃɹɪmp/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪmp



shrimp (countable and uncountable, plural shrimp or shrimps)

  1. Any of many swimming, often edible, crustaceans, chiefly of the infraorder Caridea or the suborder Dendrobranchiata, with slender legs, long whiskers and a long abdomen.
    • 1851, "A Lady of Charleston" (Sarah Rutledge), The Carolina Housewife, 2013, unnumbered page,
      Butter well a deep dish, upon which place a thick layer of pounded biscuit; having picked and boiled your shrimps, put them upon the biscuit; a layer of shrimps, with small pieces of butter, a little pepper, mace or nutmeg.
    • 1998, Claude E. Boyd, Pond Aquaculture Water Quality Management, page 605:
      Shrimp farming is in its infancy in Africa. but Asia has most of the world's shrimp farms.
    • 2011, Will Holtham, Home Port Cookbook: Beloved Recipes from Martha's Vineyard, page 142:
      America's favorite seafood, shrimp has always been a big seller at the Home Port. On any given day, we usually served around 40 to 50 pounds of shrimp.
    • 2004, Gary C. B. Poore, Shane T. Ahyong, Marine Decapod Crustacea of Southern Australia: A Guide to Identification, page 145:
      Most shrimps belong to one of several families of the Infraorder Caridea (Chapter 4). However, coral shrimps and Venus shrimps are so different from the rest that a separate infraorder is warranted.
  2. (uncountable) The flesh of such crustaceans.
  3. (slang) A small, puny or unimportant person.
  4. (slang, uncommon) Synonym of butterface: a person with an attractive body but unattractive face.


  • prawn (sometimes proscribed)

Derived terms



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shrimp (third-person singular simple present shrimps, present participle shrimping, simple past and past participle shrimped)

  1. (intransitive) To fish for shrimp.
    • 1986, The Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America, page 454:
      Fishing, shrimping and crabbing are permitted on designated areas of the refuge subject to the following conditions: []
    • 1996, Anthony V. Margavio, Caught in the Net: The Conflict Between Shrimpers and Conservationists, page 24:
      Although the line is not always sharply drawn, offshore shrimping and inshore shrimping require different strategies.
    • 2007, Jerry Wayne Caines, A Caines Family Tradition: A Native Son's Story of Fishing, Hunting and Duck Decoys in the Lowcountry, page 86:
      There were times we shrimped in the same boat due to breakdowns and such, but for the most part we each had our own separate boat. We started out using outboard motor boats. However, shrimping with an outboard is pretty hard.
  2. To contract; to shrink.

Derived terms