nounplural noun piranha, plural noun piranhas
A deep-bodied South American freshwater fish that typically lives in schools and has very sharp teeth that are used to tear flesh from prey. It has a reputation as a fearsome predator.
Serrosalmus and other genera, family Characidae: several species‘Two well-known fish with multiple rows of teeth are piranhas and sharks.’
- ‘Some items are curios, such as a necklace of peccary teeth and a piranha jaw fashioned into a cutting tool.’
- ‘I would rather throw myself to piranhas than have that reputation.’
- ‘You become fish bait to the school of piranhas circling around.’
- ‘She glanced across at her large fish tank, where two piranhas swam back and forth.’
Early 18th century via Portuguese from Tupi pi'rãia, from pi'ra ‘fish’ + 'ãia ‘teeth’.