crayfish, noun

Origin:
British EnglishFrenchShow more Transferred use of British English crayfish a name applied especially to the langouste Palinurus vulgaris (from French crevice, crevis freshwater crustacean); cf. crawfish.
Any of several species of spiny lobster of the Palinuridae, especially the Cape or South African spiny rock lobster Jasus lalandii (see kreef), but also Palinurus delagoae and P. gilchristi, and the langouste, P. vulgaris; Cape lobster, see Cape sense 2 a; crawfish; rock lobster. Also attributive.
Note:
Confined in its distribution to the west coast of southern Africa, Jasus lalandii is commercially the most important of the rock lobsters.
1831 S. Afr. Almanac & Dir. Jan.Fish in Season. Hottentot, red and white Stumpnose, Harder, Roman, red Steenbrassem, Mackarel, Gurnet, Oyster, Crayfish, Shrimp, Mussles, Klip Fish, Smelt, Sole, &c.
1844 J. Backhouse Narr. of Visit 82There were some curious beetles, and one of vivid green was feeding indiscriminately on the remains of Crayfish cast up on the shore.
1860 A.W. Drayson Sporting Scenes 14A delay of a few hours enabled me to haul on board a good dish of grotesque-looking fish, and some crayfish: the latter were excellent eating.
1915 D. Fairbridge Torch Bearer 148It didn’t matter what you called it — crayfish was crayfish, and — while everyone in the audience was familiar with the delicate small kreef in mayonnaise or dressed in other ways — who would dream of eating the large ones except Malays?
1925 H.J. Mandelbrote tr. of O.F. Mentzel’s Descr. of Cape of G.H. II. 89Local crayfish are not lobsters as Kolbe states. I have never seen a true lobster at the Cape. The crayfish are of the very large variety...They have small claws and spikes on their backs, and require care in handling. They are not very nice to eat and cannot be enjoyed without vinegar.
c1936 S. & E. Afr. Yr Bk & Guide 347The canning of crayfish as an industry commenced about 1890.
1955 A. Delius Young Trav. in S. Afr. 86Dick..chose..‘Crayfish Cardinale’. Crayfish, Mr. Sharp explained, was the Cape Lobster.
1967 W.A. De Klerk White Wines 34The ‘Crayfish Agreement’ of 1935 — a treaty whereby France undertook to buy Cape crayfish on condition that South Africa would refrain from using a number of French wine names..such as..‘Champagne’, ‘Burgundy’ and ‘Cognac’.
1988 Style Feb. 18What is the difference between crayfish and lobster? ‘None at all...The crayfish is one of the few sea creatures to have its name changed by law. We couldn’t sell crayfish in the States so we changed its name to lobster.’
Any of several species of spiny lobster of the Palinuridae, especially the Cape or South African spiny rock lobster Jasus lalandiikreef, but also Palinurus delagoae and P. gilchristi, and the langouste, P. vulgaris; Cape lobster, see Cape2 a; crawfish; rock lobster. Also attributive.

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18311988