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

  • n. Any of various marine and freshwater fishes of the family Cottidae, having a large flattened head and prominent spines.
  • n. A scorpion fish (Scorpaena guttata) of California coastal waters. Also called sea scorpion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small fish of the family Cottidae, usually lacking scales. Often found on river bottoms and in tidal pools.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of numerous species of marine cottoid fishes of the genus Cottus, or Acanthocottus, having a large head armed with several sharp spines, and a broad mouth. They are generally mottled with yellow, brown, and black. Several species are found on the Atlantic coasts of Europe and America.
  • n. A large cottoid market fish of California (Scorpænichthys marmoratus); -- called also bighead, cabezon, scorpion, salpa.
  • n. The dragonet, or yellow sculpin, of Europe (Callionymus lyra).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A callionymoid fish, Callionymus lyra, having at the angle of the preoperculum a strong compressed dentate spine; a dragonet: more fully called yellow sculpin. See dragonet, 2, and cut under Callionymus.
  • n. A mean or mischief-making fellow.
  • n. A cottoid fish, especially of the genus Cottus (or Acanthocottus), as C. scorpius of the northern Atlantic; C. grœnlandicus, the daddysculpin; C. æneus, the grubby of the New England and New York coasts.
  • n. A hemitripteroid fish, Hemitripterus acadianus, occurring in deeper water than the true sculpins off the northeastern coast of America. Also called deep-water sculpin, yellow sculpin, and sea-raven. See cut under sea-raven.
  • n. A scorpænoid fish, Scorpæna guttata, of the southern Californian coast, there called scorpene. See cut under Scorpæna.

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

  • n. any of numerous spiny large-headed usually scaleless scorpaenoid fishes with broad mouths


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

Origin unknown.



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  • sculpin

    October 25, 2009

  • See this languagehat post: sculpin

    June 26, 2009

  • "The sculpin, or 'bullhead,' as the people of Savoonga called the fish, were yellowish green and black, about ten inches long, with bloated, oversized heads."

    —James Campbell, The Final Frontiersman (New York and London: Atria Books, 2004), 93

    September 17, 2008