Definition of crawfish in US English:



North American
  • 1A freshwater crayfish.

    • ‘Small freshwater crawfish potter about and are easily approachable.’
    • ‘In flood years they open the gates and fresh water flushes through the Basin and the crawfish and the fishermen flourish.’
    • ‘On holidays, it is common for everyone to fish for crawfish in the mountain streams or to catch land crabs to add to the evening meal.’
    • ‘There isn't much else to see at this depth apart from freshwater crawfish scuttling for cover along the silty bottom.’
    • ‘Perhaps the most representative food of Cajun culture is crawfish, or mudbug.’
    1. 1.1
      another term for spiny lobster
      • ‘Fish regularly shoal in the area; and within the rocky ledges enormous crabs, lobsters and the occasional crawfish take advantage of the fact that they are rarely visited or fished for.’
      • ‘The new display will also include tropical hermit crabs, crawfish, horseshoe crabs, and other species.’
      • ‘The diver asked the chef if he would prepare a special crawfish dish for her birthday party at his restaurant.’
      • ‘Edible crabs, crawfish and lobsters must not be taken.’
      • ‘An interesting occupant of the rock's ledges is the crawfish.’
      • ‘Then the seals are forgotten as I come across a lobster-pot - not because of the crawfish inside it but the seahorse anchored to the bars.’


[no object]US
  • Retreat from a position.

    ‘the three networks, intimidated by the public outcry, had begun to crawfish’
    • ‘If there were a shred of sense in this analogy, hunting would have been banned five years ago, whereas in fact he has ‘crawfished’ about like anything trying to avoid it.’
    • ‘‘For 11 long years, he has sidestepped, crawfished, wheedled out of any agreements he had made not to develop weapons of mass destruction,’ he said.’


Early 17th century: variant of crayfish.