Main definitions of shark in US English:

: shark1shark2

shark1

noun

  • 1A long-bodied chiefly marine fish with a cartilaginous skeleton, a prominent dorsal fin, and toothlike scales. Most sharks are predatory, although the largest kinds feed on plankton, and some can grow to a large size.

    Several orders (or superorders) of the subclass Elasmobranchii: many families

    • ‘Having slender bodies and long tails, these sharks can easily glide between coral branches and hide in tight reef structures.’
    • ‘Scuba diving and snorkelling among the exotic fish, dolphins, rays and sharks is hugely popular.’
    • ‘The third aquarium would house more than 50 species of freshwater sharks and rays, as well as enclosures for Komodo dragons and giant tortoises.’
    • ‘You can even dive with sharks at the Aquarium if you are a qualified diver.’
    • ‘According to aquarium staff, sharks are not the ocean's deadliest predator.’
    • ‘The tour featured such media stunts as donning a wetsuit to swim with sharks in an aquarium tank, hugging a piglet in a shopping centre and donning hard hats on construction sites.’
    • ‘Learn what you can do to help elephants, whales, sharks, parrots and other wildlife.’
    • ‘In the process, the shark also takes the old man's harpoon and rope.’
    • ‘Great white sharks can grow as long as 5 meters and weigh 2,500 kilos.’
    • ‘How did a shark in a Detroit aquarium give birth if she hadn't been near a male for six years?’
    • ‘This shark feeds primarily on bony fishes such as parrot, trigger, squirrel, surgeon, damsel and goat fishes as well as eels.’
    • ‘We tied a rope to the tail of the shark and put it on the hook of the caterpillar machine.’
    • ‘The birth surprised researchers, as the mother had not been in contact with a male shark for six years.’
    • ‘The upper lobe of the shark's tail, however, is larger than the lower lobe.’
    • ‘This shark has a very slender body and a characteristic long tail.’
    • ‘The male sharks enter the cove with considerably more speed, driven by their single-minded drive to mate.’
    • ‘Given this requirement, most sharks cannot enter fresh water, because their internal salt levels would become diluted.’
    • ‘That appetite could spell trouble for humans who enter the same coastal and freshwater areas as the sharks.’
    • ‘And it's even possible to buy an island in the waters of Lake Nicaragua, famed for its freshwater sharks.’
    • ‘The breeding ground site is in the shallows, where it is difficult for male sharks to initiate mating.’
  • 2A small Southeast Asian freshwater fish with a tail resembling that of a shark, popular in aquaria.

    Two species in the family Cyprinidae: the small red-tailed black shark (Labeo bicolor), and the larger black shark (Morulius chrysophekadion)

  • 3A light grayish-brown European moth, the male of which has pale silvery hind wings.

    Genus Cucullia, family Noctuidae: several species, including C. umbratica

Origin

Late Middle English: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

shark

/SHärk//ʃɑrk/

Main definitions of shark in US English:

: shark1shark2

shark2

noun

informal
  • 1A person who unscrupulously exploits or swindles others.

    ‘property sharks want to develop 200 acres around the site’
    See also loan shark
    ‘Coleby was a shark, not the sort of man to pay more when he could pay less’
    • ‘Their biggest fear now are the sharks of overhype.’
    • ‘As a result of corruption, usually big sharks escape and poor retailers get punished.’
    • ‘I wish the money-hungry media sharks all too eager to exploit and enforce stereotypes to fill up their wallets would see that.’
    • ‘Deals of all sorts will be cut before this election ends here in the home of the sharps and sharks who have been cutting all sorts of deals for more than a century.’
    • ‘But is there an alternative to calling in the sharks when people steal your stuff?’
    • ‘A simple fraud statute seemed like a good way to swat down small-time sharks and keep the field open for themselves.’
    • ‘In water-starved Bangalore, lakes on its outskirts are not just neglected but turn prime property for land sharks.’
    • ‘They are the cyber-era equivalents of highwaymen, sharks, cheesy protection racketeers.’
    • ‘Welcome though this urban regeneration will be, now is probably your last chance to spot a kingfisher down by Bow Bridge, before the property sharks move in.’
    • ‘Scott is the Roger Dodger of the film's title, a shark, a venomous, unpleasant, conniving, self-consciously chauvinistic pig.’
    • ‘The forwards, ie, the sharks of the political underworld are opportunists but each with a different strength.’
    • ‘Some of these treasure-seekers have been conned, not paid by the city sharks for years.’
    • ‘It is a scentless, unappealing botanical fraud sold by sharks to suckers.’
    • ‘His latest is an ensemble piece, set in an undeveloped beach front community in Florida, where the old ways are beginning to atrophy, as property sharks circle.’
    • ‘At the same time I had sharks, parasites and con artists turning up, all trying to get a piece of the action.’
    • ‘People in York mostly think that estate agents are a rip-off, greedy, corrupt, or that they are cowboys or sharks.’
    • ‘But while property sharks may be kicking up their heels, small-time Plateau landowners and their tenants are bearing the brunt.’
    • ‘She is solid, dependable and middle-class - up against corrupt corporate sharks.’
  • 2US An expert in a specified field.

    ‘a pool shark’
    • ‘Preston, a pool shark, once beat singer Willie Nelson for $300,000 in dominoes.’
    • ‘He has sprinter's speed, a card shark's confidence and playmaker's knack for action.’
    • ‘A pool shark can hit a ball with a cue and predict with relative certainty where a whole bunch of balls will go on the table.’
    • ‘A few unsavory types hung at the far end of the long dark bar, and a couple of sharks were playing pool in the side room.’
    • ‘There are three skill levels including Novice, Intermediate and Expert, a difficulty level that is sure to challenge even the best of the pool sharks.’
    • ‘Even more interesting is the workarounds that user communities often find to do what they want to do, whether hardware makers or content sharks want them to or not.’
    • ‘He examines a rack of bars like a pool shark choosing a new cue.’
    • ‘However, if you take the time to get to know her, you'll quickly realize that there's much more than meets the eye beneath the surface of this pool shark.’
    • ‘He became a ‘fence’ for stolen goods, a pool shark, and a hustler on the midway.’
    • ‘Karaoke in a place like this fits right in next to the dudes watching the game on the tube and the pool sharks getting busy upstairs.’
    • ‘I have seen him, at the card table, con enormous sums out of experienced game sharks.’
    • ‘And while this pool shark is one of the best, he's not what you think.’
    • ‘If you can work in scoring with the pool shark's wife, you're a true master of revenge.’

Origin

Late 16th century: perhaps from German Schurke ‘worthless rogue’, influenced by shark.

Pronunciation

shark

/SHärk//ʃɑrk/