from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various elongated freshwater or anadromous fishes of the family Petromyzontidae, having a jawless sucking mouth with rasping teeth and often attaching to and parasitizing other fish.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A marsipobranchiate fish, of an elongated or eel-like form when adult.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) An eel-like marsipobranch of the genus Petromyzon, and allied genera; called also lamprey eel and lamper eel. The lampreys have a round, sucking mouth, without jaws, but set with numerous minute teeth, and one to three larger teeth on the palate (see Illust. of cyclostomi). There are seven small branchial openings on each side.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any long slender primitive eel-like freshwater and saltwater fish of the Petromyzontidae family, having a sucking mouth with rasping teeth but no jaw.

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

  • noun primitive eellike freshwater or anadromous cyclostome having round sucking mouth with a rasping tongue


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

[Middle English lamprei, from Old French lampreie, from Medieval Latin lamprēda, perhaps of Gaulish origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English laumprei, adopted from Old French lampreie (Modern lamproie), from Medieval Latin lampreda, possibly from Late Latin lampetra, from a combination of lambere ("lick") + petra ("stone").



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  • A nightmarish creature.

    February 19, 2008

  • yarb, read up on the hagfish, its cousin...nightmarish

    February 19, 2008

  • Argh! So ugly it defies contemplation except in the abstract.

    February 19, 2008

  • Silly hobbitses, "lamprey" is just another name for grass.

    March 25, 2009

  • argoseen

    May 26, 2011

  • "Lampreys were a distinctively upper-class food but regarded as extremely dangerous because of their cold and wet nature. King Henry I of England died in 1135 a week after eating lampreys in defiance of his doctor's orders, and this became well enough known to serve as a cautionary although ineffective story."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 51

    Another usage/historical note can be found in comment on jance and on humoral diversity.

    November 27, 2017