Definition of arapaima in US English:



  • A large, long edible freshwater fish native to tropical South America.

    Arapaima gigas, family Osteoglossidae

    • ‘Many fishes have trouble surviving as lakes’ temperatures rise and dissolved-oxygen levels fall, but the arapaima thrives because it breathes atmospheric oxygen through its mouth.’
    • ‘Meanwhile the hunt for the arapaima has as many twists as the great river's course.’
    • ‘The Brazilian government has now banned commercial fishing for arapaima, but enforcement is difficult.’
    • ‘Located in the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre nearby the Twin Towers, Aquaria KLCC has an amazing display of fish, from sand tiger sharks to blue rays and giant arapaimas to gar fish.’
    • ‘The arapaima is found in the Amazon and Orinoco River drainage of South America.’
    • ‘Fish is the main source of the diet, although the arapaima will eat birds or small animals if they are available.’
    • ‘Nearby in the Graham Amazon gallery visitors can gaze at 7 foot arapaimas, catfish the size of bulldogs, beautiful tiger stingrays, giant anacondas, electric eels, two toed sloths and creepy piranhas.’
    • ‘There's also excellent fishing in the Essequibo, and the chance to spot aquatic life such as otters, caimans, and freshwater turtles, and the enormous arapaima, the world's largest freshwater fish.’
    • ‘Just got back from Aquaria KLCC this morning… took some shots of the two arapaimas in the amazon flood forest section… they have good red colouration as adults’
    • ‘This tunnel will lead visitors through a 100,000-gallon Amazonian Flooded Forest tank, complete with arapaimas, giant catfish, and piranhas swimming overhead.’
    • ‘This is the third year that we have caught baby arapaimas.’
    • ‘For this reason, the arapaima tends to float near the surface of the water and is vulnerable to harpoon and spear fishing.’
    • ‘The water the arapaima lives in can be very oxygen deficient; therefore, this fish will periodically come to the surface to breathe, getting the additional oxygen it needs to survive from the air.’
    • ‘Even though it is large, the arapaima is a graceful swimmer and it is valued as an aquarium fish as well as for food.’
    • ‘Throughout its range, the arapaima is a high-quality food fish.’


Mid 19th century: from Tupi.