One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A shark with barbels on the snout.
Three species in the family Orectolobidae (or Ginglymostomatidae), in particular Ginglymostoma cirratum, a slow-swimming brownish shark of warm Atlantic waters
- ‘It's called a nurse shark because you see those barbels under the mouth.’
- ‘The whale shark, the hammerhead and the nurse shark are impossible to confuse.’
- ‘On our first dive, 77 minutes at Palancar caves, we saw one of everything: a nurse shark, hawksbill turtle, spotted eagle ray, southern stingray, green moray, and a spotted moray.’
- ‘Normally calm species of sharks such as the nurse shark can be provoked to violence if they take a liking to your Starter Jacket.’
- ‘Of particular concern is the grey nurse shark, a smaller, less predatory shark living off the coast of New South Wales and Queensland.’
Mid 19th century: nurse ‘dogfish shark’, alteration of Middle English nusse, perhaps derived (by wrong division) from an huss (see huss).
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