shellfish


shellfish
/shel"fish'/, n., pl. (esp. collectively) shellfish, (esp. referring to two or more kinds or species) shellfishes.
an aquatic animal having a shell, as the oyster and other mollusks and the lobster and other crustaceans.
[bef. 900; ME; OE scilfisc. See SHELL, FISH]

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Any aquatic mollusk, crustacean, or echinoderm that has a shell.

Oysters, mussels, scallops, and clams rank among the most commercially important. Certain gastropod mollusks, such as abalone, whelk, and conch, are also marketed. The main crustaceans are shrimp, lobster, and crab. Among echinoderms, sea urchins and sea cucumbers are locally popular. After being harvested, all shellfish are highly perishable. Many types are cooked live to protect the consumer against the effects of spoilage.

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▪ animal group
      any aquatic invertebrate animal having a shell and belonging to the phylum Mollusca, the class Crustacea (phylum Arthropoda), or the phylum Echinodermata. The term is often used for the edible species of the groups, especially those that are fished or raised commercially.

      Bivalve mollusks, including oysters, mussels, scallops, and clams, rank among the most commercially important shellfish throughout the world. Certain gastropod mollusks, such as abalone, whelk, and conch, are also marketed. The main crustacean forms caught and eaten are the shrimp and prawns of the genera Crangon and Palaemon off the coast of Europe and the genus Penaeus in the coastal waters from North Carolina to Mexico. The American lobster, the Norway lobster (also called Dublin Bay prawn), and the South African rock lobster are highly valued, as are the king crab and the Dungeness crab and its related species. Among echinoderms, sea urchins and sea cucumber (trepang, or bêche-de-mer) are locally popular. There is considerable confusion over the nomenclature of shellfish, compounded by the restaurateur's tendency to name his offerings based on size rather than species.

      After being harvested, all shellfish are highly perishable. Many types are cooked live to protect the consumer against the effects of spoilage. Most shellfish benefit from brief and gentle cooking; with high heat they may disintegrate or turn rubbery, and the flavour becomes disagreeably strong. Conch and abalone, however, must be pounded to tenderize the tough meat. Shellfish are often served with rich or highly seasoned sauces.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shellfish — is a culinary and fisheries term for those aquatic invertebrate animals that are used as food: various species of molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms. Although the word is primarily used as a term for marine species, freshwater edible… …   Wikipedia

  • shellfish — [shel′fish΄] n. pl. shellfish or shellfishes (see FISH) [ME shellfyssche < OE scilfisc < sciel, SHELL + fisc, FISH] any aquatic animal with a shell, esp. an edible one, as the clam or lobster …   English World dictionary

  • Shellfish — Shell fish , n. (Zo[ o]l.) Any aquatic animal whose external covering consists of a shell, either testaceous, as in oysters, clams, and other mollusks, or crustaceous, as in lobsters and crabs. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shellfish — (n.) O.E. scylfiscas (pl.); see SHELL (Cf. shell) (n.) + FISH (Cf. fish) (n.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • shellfish — ► NOUN ▪ an aquatic shelled mollusc or crustacean, especially an edible one …   English terms dictionary

  • shellfish — [[t]ʃe̱lfɪʃ[/t]] N VAR: usu pl (shellfish is both the singular and the plural form.) Shellfish are small creatures that live in the sea and have a shell. Fish and shellfish are the specialities …   English dictionary

  • shellfish — plural shellfish noun 1 (C, U) a sea or water animal that does not have a backbone, but has a shell: Lobsters and oysters are shellfish. 2 (U) such animals as a type of food: Do you like shellfish? …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • shellfish — UK [ˈʃelˌfɪʃ] / US noun Word forms shellfish : singular shellfish plural shellfish a) [countable] sea creatures with a hard shell around them, for example crabs, mussels, and oysters b) [uncountable] these creatures used as food …   English dictionary

  • shellfish — (Roget s IV) n. Syn. crustacean, mollusk, molluscoid, crustaceous animal, invertebrate, marine invertebrate, marine animal, arthropod, gastropod, Arthropoda, molluskan type, bivalve, shell meat. Types of shellfish include: crab, lobster, clam,… …   English dictionary for students

  • shellfish — shell|fish [ˈʃelˌfıʃ] n plural shellfish [U and C] an animal that lives in water, has a shell, and can be eaten as food, for example ↑crabs, ↑lobsters, and ↑oysters …   Dictionary of contemporary English


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