silver-fish, noun

Origin:
Show more Named for its colour; cf. Dutch zilvervisch.
Any of three species of marine and freshwater fish.
1. Either of two species of seabream, especially a. the carpenter, Argyrozona argyrozona; and b. the red steenbras (see steenbras sense b), Petrus rupestris. In both senses also called silver.
1731 G. Medley tr. of P. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H. 203The fish at the Cape, call’d the Silver-fish, is of the shape of a Carp, and of the size of a Carp of a pound weight, and tastes not much unlike a carp. ’Tis a very white fish, adorn’d with several streaks, of a bright silver-colour. These silver-streaks appear like leaf-silver.
1806 J. Barrow Trav. II. 37Another perch, called the Silver-fish, has one back fin, and tail bifid;..with five longitudinal silver bands on each side.
a1823 J. Ewart Jrnl (1970) 13Hottentot fish, a small fish..covered with scales of a dirty brown colour, silver fish, something of the size and shape of the former, and of a bright silver colour.
1831 S. Afr. Almanack & Dir. MayFish in Season — Snoek, Geelbek, Silverfish, Roman, Kabeljau.
1861 A Lady Life at Cape (1963) 3It is a very pretty sight..to..watch the fleet of fishingboats coming to the anchorage after a hard day’s toil at hooking snoek, silverfish, hottentot, stumpnose and geelbeck.
1891 H.J. Duckitt Hilda’s ‘Where Is It?’ 71Put your fish (mackerel, or Cape ‘silver-fish,’ or young ‘kabeljou’ [printed kabeljon]) in a tin baking pan.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 442Silver fish, Dentex argyrozona. The Western province name of this fish, which shows, when fresh, a beautiful silver sheen, though the fish is a delicate pink. Dentex rupestris is known by this name in the Eastern Province.
1926 M. Nathan S. Afr. from Within 204The larger staple fish are silverfish, stumpnose, Cape Salmon, Kabeljauw (maigre) and stockfish (hake).
1951 L.G. Green Grow Lovely 91The silver fish is not silver but red, and in earlier times was known as the goldfish.
1991 Weekend Post 6 Apr. 4Size limits remain the same for..silverfish (25cm), [etc.].
2. The freshwater fish Barbus mattozi of the Cyprinidae (yellowfishes and barbs).
Note:
Found in the Limpopo river system. In P. Skelton’s Freshwater Fishes (1993), the name ‘papermouth’ is used for B. mattozi.
1892 Nicolls & Eglington Sportsman in S. Afr. 138The Silver Fish. (May be caught up to 3 lbs in weight, and in shape resembles the Yellowtail. The colour is a bluish silver grey, with a pinkish tinge.) This fish is not met with in the rivers North of the Crocodile, and as an object from which sport can be derived, it deserves no special mention. It is not good eating.
1893 H.A. Bryden Gun & Camera 462Speaking of the silver-fish, as they are called, there are numbers of them to be found, curiously enough, in a huge, rock-encircled tarn of very deep water about fifteen miles from Mafeking.
1945 H. Gerber Fish Fare 71The best known freshwater fish are yellowfish, witvis, silverfish.
1971 Beeton & Dorner in Eng. Usage in Sn Afr. Vol.1 No.2, 52Silver fish,..Predatory fish with characteristic large mouth, thin lips & protruding lower jaw; known in the Limpopo system.
Any of three species of marine and freshwater fish.
the carpenter, Argyrozona argyrozona; and
the red steenbrassteenbrasb, Petrus rupestris. In both senses also called silver.
The freshwater fish Barbus mattozi of the Cyprinidae (yellowfishes and barbs).

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