Meaning of wrasse in English:


nounwrasse, wrasses

  • A marine fish with thick lips and strong teeth, typically brightly coloured with marked differences between the male and female.

    Family Labridae: numerous genera and species

    • ‘The presence of the model predator at the mating site resulted in a strong initial reaction by both male and female bluehead wrasses.’
    • ‘Many male damselfish, wrasses, and angelfish, among others, maintain harems.’
    • ‘In marine areas, species concentrations are highest around coral reefs, where butterflyfishes and angelfishes, wrasses, parrotfishes and triggerfishes are common.’
    • ‘Most of what you see here are coral fish like various wrasses, squirrelfish, Moorish Idols, parrotfish, angelfish, surgeonfish and butterflyfish.’
    • ‘As a youngster he fished off the rocks for the usual species of cod, pollack, coley, wrasse, mackerel and dogfish with the odd plaice or eel.’
    • ‘A social system exists among the three different kinds of bluehead wrasses.’
    • ‘Closer to the reef, divers will be attracted by the hive of activity - wrasses, damselfish, butterflyfish and cleaner fish dart about foraging for food among the hard corals.’
    • ‘The census also revealed that four fish species - butterfly fish, damselfish, and two wrasses - may now be locally extinct.’
    • ‘A well-studied species exhibiting early sex change is the bluehead wrasse, Thalassoma bifasciatum.’
    • ‘Below them goatfish, wrasses and scorpionfish frolicked amongst the kelp holdfasts.’
    • ‘When spawning, wrasses gather in loose aggregations where one dominant male oversees many females within a general territory.’
    • ‘The most common day predators are wrasses (family Labridae) and other damselfishes (family Pomacentridae).’
    • ‘Rockmover wrasses, also called dragon wrasses, have an oblong compressed body and a wedge-shaped head.’
    • ‘We have had plaice from here but there are also large eels and loads of wrasse if you fish close to the rocks.’
    • ‘Coral fish such as groupers and wrasses have all but vanished from some waters, especially off the coasts of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.’
    • ‘The marine life was much the same again, but as we were about to surface we saw the bright colours of a wrasse emerge from under the bonnet.’
    • ‘A fantastically coloured male cuckoo wrasse, all neon blues and gold, darted out in front of me.’
    • ‘Most parrotfishes seek out caves and ledges in the reef for protection at night, but parrotfishes in the genus Cryptotomus bury themselves in the sand like wrasses.’
    • ‘Like most wrasses, they surround themselves with a mucus layer to cover their scent while they sleep, avoiding discovery by a nighttime predator.’
    • ‘Most other closely related wrasses utilize a combination of suction and biting to take less elusive invertebrate prey items.’


Late 17th century from Cornish wrah; related to Welsh gwrach, literally ‘old woman’.