How did Some Fish Get Their Names?

If you had never seen a goldfish before and had to think up name for it, what do you think it would be? Perhaps you would look at its bright colour in the sun and say it looks golden, so let’s call it “goldfish”? Well, many fish got their names because of their appearance or some special quality about them.

For example, “shark” comes from the Greek Karckarios and the Latin carcharus, which mean “sharp teeth”! Does the porpoise resemble a hog a little bit? It gets its name from the Latin word porcus pisces, which means “hog-fish”.

The swordfish is an easy one. The upper jaw of this fish really looks like a sword. The whale is simply the modern spelling of an Anglo-Saxon word hwal.


The sunfish is so named because it has a round shape like the sun. that catfish got its named because it has a round shape like the sun. That catfish got its name because of its large, glaring eyes, it is there any question as to how the flying fish got its name?

The “sole” comes from the Latin word solea, which means “the bottom”. Herring comes from an Anglo-Saxon word haring, which means “a multitude”, or “many”, and of course the herring is always found in multitudes.

Have you ever examined a mackerel? Then you probably noticed the spot on it. The word “mackerel” comes from the Danish word mackerel which means “spots”! A “smelt” got its name because it has peculiar smell.

What’s interesting about the salmon? The way it jumps over obstacles on its way upstream. So the word “salmon” comes from the Latin salmo which means a “leaping fish”! There trout loves to go after bait and “trout” comes from the Latin trocta, which means “the greedy fish”.

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