American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various marine echinoderms of the class Asteroidea, characteristically having a thick, often spiny body with five arms extending from a central disk. Also called asteroid, sea star.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An echinoderm with five or more arms radiating from a central disk: applied to all the members of the Asteroidea and Ophiuroidea (see these words). These belong to the phylum Echinodermata, which contains also the sea-urchins, holothurians, crinoids, etc., though these are not usually called starfishes. In some of the asteroids or starfishes proper the disk is enlarged so as to take in nearly or quite the whole length of the rays, so that the resulting figure is a pentagon, or even a circle; but in such cases the stellate structure is evident on examination. Such are known as cushion-stars. In the ophiurians the reverse extreme occurs, the body being reduced to a small circular central disk, with extremely long slender rays, which in some, as the eury-aleans, are branched into several thousand ramifications. (See cut under
basket-fish.) The commonest type of starfish has five rays; whence such are popularly known as five-fingered jack or fivefingers. (See cuts under Asteriasand Echinaster.) Those with more than five rays are often called sun-starfishor sun-stars. (See Heliaster, and cuts under Brisingaand Solaster.) The skin of starfishes is tough and leathery, and usually indurated with calcareous plates, tubercles, spines, etc. It is so brittle that starfishes readily break to pieces, sometimes shivering like glass into many fragments. This fragility is at an extreme in the ophiurians, sometimes, on this account, called brittle-stars. (See cut under Astrophyton.) Lost arms are readily replaced by a new growth, if the body of the starfish is not broken. On the under side of the animal's rays may be observed rows of small holes; these are the ambulacra, through which protrude many small soft, fleshy processes—the pedicels, tube-feet, or ambulacral feet—by means of which the creatures crawl about. The ambulacra converge to a central point on the under side, where is the oral opening or mouth. The animals are extremely voracious, and do great damage to oyster-beds. They abound in all seas at various depths, and some of them are familiar objects on every sea-coast. Some of the free crinoids of stellate figure are included under the name starfishes, though they are usually called lily-starsor feather-stars. Encrinites are fossil starfishes of this kind. (See cuts under Comatulidæand encrinite.) Very different as are the appearances superficially presented by a starfish, a sea-urchin, a holothurian, and a crinoid, their fundamental unity of structure may be easily shown. If, for instance, a common five-fingered jack should have its arms bent up over its back till they came to a center opposite the mouth, and then soldered together in that position by plates filling the spaces between the arms, it would make the globular or oblate spheroid figure of a sea-urchin. If a starfish should turn over on its back, and have a stem grow from the center, and then have its arms come together like the petals of a lily, it would represent a crinoid. If, again, the starfish should have its arms reduced to mere rudiments, or to tentacular appendages of an elongated leathery body, it would represent a holothurian, sea-slug, or trepang. These are the principal types of echinoderms—in fact less unlike one another than are the several stages they uudergo in development, for which see Asteroidea, Bipinnaria, Brachiolaria, echinopædium, and pluteus.
- n. The butter-fish or dollar-fish.
- n. In heraldry, a bearing representing a five-pointed star, the rays surrounded by short waving flames or the like, and having a small circle in the center.
- n. Any of various asteroids or other echinoderms (not in fact fish) with usually five arms, many of which eat bivalves or corals by everting their stomach.
- n. vulgar, slang, usually in translations of Japanese pornography an anus. See also chocolate starfish.
- n. obsolete Any many-armed or tentacled sea invertebrate, whether cnidarian, echinoderm, or cephalopod.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of echinoderms belonging to the class Asterioidea, in which the body is star-shaped and usually has five rays, though the number of rays varies from five to forty or more. The rays are often long, but are sometimes so short as to appear only as angles to the disklike body. Called also
sea star, five-finger, and stellerid.
- n. (Zoöl.) The dollar fish, or butterfish.
- n. echinoderms characterized by five arms extending from a central disk
- star + fish (Wiktionary)
“Apparently, if your starfish is a little too brown for your liking, you can make it more skin-colored.”
“Also the starfish is named Frankenlolly and the Clam is named Glenda.”
“That's possible because the starfish is a completely decentralized organism.”
“We were told it was trying to escape because the starfish is a natural predator.”
“I got a shock out of my life when I saw the starfish was as big as my pillow!!!”
“This saving grace for "George" made the author recall the starfish parable where someone tried to help as many of the hundreds of stranded starfish he could which had washed ashore on the sandy beach.”
“When stuck together, the five protein parts give Twinkletoes a shape that might best be described as a starfish on stilts.”
“For simplified communications, Worsel immediately dubbed the starfish "Asterias" and the globe”
The Dragon Lensman
“The seeming exception is only a seeming one, for the radial symmetry of the starfish is a secondary development in the adult.”
The Human Brain
“In addition to these, her accumulation of pet specialities included a seven-fingered starfish, which is supposed by the ignorant to be peculiarly inimical to the adventurous cat that swalloweth it; and a ring-horned pandalus or ` Aesop prawn, 'which queer creature Master Bob appropriately christened ` The Prawnee Chief,' much to the annoyance of”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘starfish’.
When you're underwater, what do you see or experience? Let's dive...
(Here's a cute little related list called Fishful Thinking...)
My big word list.
words that evoke magic, mystery, mayhem, magnificence or anything else that glimmers in the grass
Words for things both tangible and nonanthropic
words that I like
being sorts of Fish
Cool names of stuff you might find in a saltwater aquarium.
Looking for tweets for starfish.