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

  • n. Any of several tropical American freshwater fishes of the genus Serrasalmus that are voraciously carnivorous and often attack and destroy living animals. Also called caribe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of the carnivorous freshwater fish living in South American rivers and belonging to the families of Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus.

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

  • n. small voraciously carnivorous freshwater fishes of South America that attack and destroy living animals
  • n. someone who attacks in search of booty


Portuguese, from Tupi : pirá, fish + ánha, to cut.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested in 1869. The first part of the term is from Ere pirá ("fish"). There are three theories regarding the source of second part: (Wiktionary)



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