Definition of shrimp in US English:



  • 1A small free-swimming crustacean with an elongated body, typically marine and frequently harvested for food.

    Pandalus, Penaeus, Crangon, and other genera, order Decapoda: numerous species, including the commercially important pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum)

    • ‘Eumalacostraca is the group that contains most of the animals the general public recognize as crustaceans, such as shrimp, crabs, lobsters.’
    • ‘They eat tiny organisms, such as mysid shrimp, that they find close to the ocean floor.’
    • ‘To fuel all this physical activity we enjoyed lots of good food; I particularly liked the red snapper fish, and the biggest shrimps I have ever seen, which I encountered at Charlie's Bar in St Nicholas.’
    • ‘The seadragon's diet consists of mysid shrimp and other small crustaceans.’
    • ‘It can be found feeding on crabs, shrimps, clams, scallops, abalone and small fish.’
    • ‘As we crept slowly across the flat in about 15 inches of water, we could see tailing bones rooting about in the soft bottom or around the mangroves, for crabs, shrimps or any other food item they could find.’
    • ‘For the many children participating it was a good opportunity to get close to mitten crabs, shrimp, fresh water mussels and even eels, as well as to a lot of deliciously slithery mud!’
    • ‘They were fed a diet of commercial shrimp pellets every third day.’
    • ‘Take a torch with you, because within the crevices you'll find loads of prawns, shrimps and the odd lobster.’
    • ‘While blue whales may occasionally feed on pelagic crabs and small fishes, their diet is almost exclusively euphausiid shrimps commonly called krill.’
    • ‘Larval fish, shrimps, and other smaller plankton are eaten when available.’
    • ‘Chef Walter then produced a Lasagnette of eggplant with lobster, shrimps and mussels on a delicate saffron sauce to go with this wine.’
    • ‘The shallow swamps provide an ideal habitat for juvenile shrimps, crustaceans, molluscs and fish, as well as breeding grounds for endangered species of marine turtles and horseshoe crabs.’
    • ‘Anemones, bubble corals, soft tree corals, sea cucumbers and cushion stars harboured tiny shrimps and crabs, while seahorses lurked among algae.’
    • ‘It appears that the shrimps use their own bodies to ‘farm’ the bacteria.’
    • ‘There are a fair number of nudibranchs and flatworms, all brightly coloured and sometimes difficult to distinguish, featherstars, shrimps, spiny lobsters and other hole-dwelling critters.’
    • ‘Feldmann summarized the paleobiogeography of lobsters and shrimps from North America.’
    • ‘Apart from 10-million baht damage to farm property, he said he had lost 2,000 spawning females capable of producing 200 million baby shrimps a month.’
    • ‘The trip north is slow for the cow-calf pair because of stops for nursing and the occasional meal of mysid shrimp or other food encountered.’
    • ‘I got some groceries, but I also got some of those shrimp they have under heat lamps near the aisles.’
    1. 1.1derogatory, informal A small, physically weak person.
      • ‘Are you sure you want to hang out with that shrimp?’
      small person, short person, person of restricted growth
      View synonyms


[no object]usually go shrimping
  • Fish for shrimp.

    ‘some families still go shrimping off the coast at Lytham’
    ‘at Trebetherick you paddle on Daymer Bay or shrimp off Gully’
    • ‘Verdin said he would go shrimping even if the oil slick spread inland.’
    • ‘It was late afternoon and most of the boats that fished and shrimped off shore were coming in for the night.’
    • ‘They hunted alligator and went shrimping and had their own little wooden shrimp boats.’
    • ‘Earlier this week we went shrimping with a Vietnamese fisherman.’
    • ‘We're going to go shrimping tonight.’
    • ‘Last year, 35 trawlers shrimped off Crescent City, but this year the number has increased to 60 boats.’
    • ‘A lot of people have gone shrimping.’
    • ‘Down on the river there are public fishing piers that you can shrimp from.’
    • ‘"We grew up with people who shrimped for a living," she says.’
    • ‘You can shrimp from the shore anywhere but you need special custom-made nets.’


Middle English: probably related to Middle Low German schrempen ‘to wrinkle’, Middle High German schrimpfen ‘to contract’, also to scrimp.