from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A marine food fish (Poronotus triacanthus) of the North American Atlantic coast, having a flattened body.
  • n. Any of various similar or related fishes, such as the moonfish and gunnel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various species of fish having a slippery mucous coating, especially

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A name given to several different fishes, in allusion to their slippery coating of mucus, as the Stromateus triacanthus of the Atlantic coast, the Epinephelus punctatus of the southern coast, the rock eel, and the kelpfish of New Zealand.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A name given to various fishes and other marine animals having a smooth and unctuous surface like butter.
  • n. A fish of the genus Murœnoides, especially M. gunnellus.
  • n. A serranoid fish, Enneacentrus punctatus. Also called nigger-fish.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of numerous small flat Atlantic food fish having smooth skin
  • n. slippery scaleless food fish of the northern Atlantic coastal waters
  • n. small marine fish with a short compressed body and feeble spines


From its slippery mucous coating.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From butter + fish. (Wiktionary)



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