A genus of lampreys, now comprising only the sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, of coastal waters of the north Atlantic and western Mediterranean; a lamprey of this genus.
Valid publication of the genus name: Linnaeus Systema Naturae (ed. 10, 1758) I. 230.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Chambers's Cyclopaedia. From scientific Latin Petromyzon, genus name (Linnaeus Systema naturae; from ancient Greek πέτρος stone + μύζων sucking, sucker, present participle of μύζειν to suck), formed with reference to the etymological explanation of post-classical Latin lampetra as being from classical Latin lambere to lick + petra stone.