Fishes that aren't fishes

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matakoweg

Senior Member
In many languages there are words that are biologically not correct.
I mean words as:
Jellyfish is not a species of fish
starfish belongs to the echinoderms that are totally unrelated to fish.

Do you have such words in your language?
In Dutch we have:
inktvis = octopus (belonging to the mollusks)
walvis = whale (mammals)

Do you also have 'wrong' birds?
I don't know an example in Dutch nor English but in Danish a sommerfugl is a butterfly.

So I'm looking for animals with in their name fish or bird that are not really fish nor birds.
 
  • Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Dutch zilvervisje = silverfish
    Most Flemish homes are loaded with these insects.

    Zeekat = literally "sea cat" = cuttlefish
    This is not a cat and not a fish either!

    Haan can be a bird (rooster) or an insect (leaf beetle)
    Sprinkhaan = literally "jump leaf beetle" = a grasshopper, which is not an actual beetle, let alone a rooster!

    Schildpad = literally "shield toad" = a turtle, which is a reptile, not an amphibian
    Zeepaardje = a seahorse, which is a fish, not a mammal

    Koperworm = literally "cupper worm" = wireworms, which are click beetle larvae, not worms
    A better Dutch name is ritnaalden = literally "rip needles"

    The following are all mammals with a Dutch name that refers to another mammal:

    Nijlpaard = literally "Nile horse" = a hippo
    Luipaard = literally "lazy horse", from Latin leopardus
    Zeekoe = a sea cow
    Zeeleeuw
    = a sea lion
    Zeehond
    = literally "sea dog" = a seal
    A better Dutch name is rob.
     
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    In Greek:

    Silverfish is either «θυσάνουρος» [θiˈsa.nu.ɾɔs] (masc.) --> tassel-tailed, or colloquially «ασημόψαρο» [a.siˈmɔ.p͡sa.ɾɔ] (neut.) --> silverfish.
    «Σκορπιός» [skɔrˈpçɔs] (masc.) --> scorpion (synonymous with the famous arachnid) is the stingfish.
    «Καλογριά» [ka.lɔ.ɣriˈa] (fem.) --> nun (coll. MoGr), or «παπαθκιά» [pa.paθˈca] (fem.) --> the priest's wife in the Orthodox Church (CyGr) is the damselfish.
    «Δράκαινα» [ˈðra.ce.na] (fem.) --> she-dragon is the weeverfish.
    «Γλώσσα» [ˈɣlɔ.sa] (fem.) --> tongue is the solea fish.
    «Παντελής» [pan.deˈlis] (masc.) --> the familiar version of the first name of «Παντελεήμων» [pan.de.leˈi.mɔn], is the brown meagre (fish).
    «Σαλιάρα» [saˈʎa.ɾa] (fem.) --> baby's bib, is the butterfly blenny (fish).
    «Βαρβάρα» [varˈva.ɾa] (fem.) --> Barbara (fem. first name), is the name of the common shelduck.
    «Αρτέμης» [arˈte.mis] (masc.) --> the familiar version of the first name of «Αρτέμιος» [arˈte.mi.ɔs], is the Scopoli's shearwater (bird).
    «Γελαδάρης» [ʝe.laˈða.ɾis] (masc.) --> cattleman, cowboy, is the name of the western cattle egret (bird).
    «Γερανός» [ʝe.ɾaˈnɔs] (masc.) --> crane, is the name of the common crane (bird).
    «Καρατζάς» [ka.ɾaˈʣ͡as] (masc.) --> roe deer, is the name of the Caspian tern (bird) < Tur. karaca, roe deer.
    «Γιδοβύζι» [ʝi.ðɔˈvi.zi] (neut.) --> goat's teat, is the name of the bird nightjar.
    «Καλόγερος» [kaˈlɔ.ʝe.ɾɔs] (masc.) --> monk (coll.) is the name of the bird great tit.
    «Αμπελουργός» [am.be.lurˈɣɔs] (masc.) --> viticulturist, grape grower, is the name of the bird black-headed bunting.
     

    matakoweg

    Senior Member
    Thanks a lot, but I actually mean words containing the word fish or bird in your language. Otherwise the list would be too long.
    so Silverfish and Ladybird are good examples.
     

    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    Well, English slang has '(dolly) bird' for 'a particular type of (young) lady'. A little dated and offensive to some people. Again, jailbird is not a feathered creature but somone who is 'a guest of Her Majesty's'.

    Cymraeg/Welsh has the word 'aderyn' (usually meaning 'a bird', 'avis') but if someone is 'dipyn o dderyn' ( = 'a bit of a bird') then he's rather a shady customer. Similarly, 'aderyn brith' (lit. 'a speckled bird') is also rather 'a bit of a lad.'

    We could stray into bird/animal expressions which refer to humans, but I'm sure there are other threads on this and you don't want these. Aderyn carchar is the same as Eng. jailbird (supra). 'Aderyn y felltith' (Lit. 'bird of the curse) is 'a lawyer'. 'Adar yr un lliw' (Lit. 'Birds of the same colour') are the equivalent of 'Birds of a feather', which of course also refers to humans not just birds.

    Turning to fish, 'pysgod bychain' (Lit. 'small fish') are actually 'sand eels'. 'Pysgod duon' (Lit. 'black fish') are 'porpoises, seals'. And finally, 'pysgod jeli' are 'jellyfish' (The polite expression ...)
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In Russian a ladybird is "God's little cow", божья коровка (bózhya koróvka), while it's not even vertebrate. But I cannot think about some "fishes" or "birds". Slavic languages aren't much into the compound nouns of the "characteristic noun + generic noun" or "characteristic adjective + generic noun" type to begin with. "Божья коровка" mentioned above is not only a phraseme rather than a proper word; its noun also has very little to do with ladybirds, being simply metaphorical and not generic in any manner (no one in his right mind would call ladybirds a subset of cows).
     

    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    I was going to avoid the following as I thought you wanted 'bird' or 'fish' in the exact word.

    However, @Awwal12 reminds me that a ladybird in Cymraeg/Welsh is the equivalent of 'a short red cow' ('buwch goch gota') and a butterfly can be 'a little summer hen' ('iâr fach yr haf').

    Again, in English, we should mention 'a Bombay duck' which is a fish.
     

    Chrzaszcz Saproksyliczny

    Senior Member
    Polish - Prussia
    Whale in Polish is "wieloryb" which if you break it up sounds like "large fish", same as in Czech. What English calls "silverfish" (insects, not fish at all) are "rybiki" (fish thingies?).
    I'm not sure if it covers your question, but to add to the discussion, we have several folk names for mushroom species, which tend to be bird-related.
     

    Ballenero

    Senior Member
    Spaniard
    There is a small insect that lives in the houses and many times you can find it in the bathroom.
    In Spanish it's known as:
    Pececillo de plata
    [little silver fish].
    image.jpeg
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    The Hungarian word for tadpole (frog larva) is "ebihal", which basically means "dogfish".
    The "dog" part apparently refers to the carnivorous nature of the animal.
     

    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    Snap! @Chrzaszcz Saproksyliczny. Same in Cymraeg/Welsh, but we actually apply the feminine: morhwch (Lit. 'sea sow' which is also a 'dolphin';)).

    And 'shark' is morgi or ci môr (both meaning 'sea dog'). Then, there's morlo (Lit. 'sea calf' for 'seal') and morlew ('sea-lion').
     

    marco_2

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I'm curious about mushroom species with bird related names.
    So e.g. in Polish Cantharellus cibarius is called kurka (= little hen) or in some regions lisica (= vixen), Russula Pers. - gołąbek (= little pigeon) and Tricholoma equestre L. - gąska (= little goose), that's what came to my mind.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    Mushrooms:
    Grifola frondosa = hen of the woods
    Laetiporus sulphureus = chicken of the woods
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    I definetely won the prize: fish or bird? Who knows? :D
    That reminds me that in Spanish gallineta (little hen) is also a fish and palometa (little dove) is another fish. The gallineta is also known as cabrilla (little goat)... But definitely, the best one is gallo because it can refer to a rooster or to a fish (the four-spot megrim).
     
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    Olaszinhok

    Senior Member
    Standard Italian
    Gallinella - gallinita or little hen. For little hen, I have always heard gallinita in Spanish. :confused: Probably also gallineta. :) In American Spanish gallineta is also Guinea fowl, according to my dictionary. :)
    gallinella d'acqua - gallineta o polla de agua
    Anyway, the pronunciation is different Spanish gallineta - ga'ʝineta; Italian gal.inɛl.a
    ;)
    As for the fish, I had never heard of it. :(
     
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    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    For little hen, I have always heard gallinita in Spanish. :confused:
    Yes, that's the most usual one but there are regional variants. Gallineta is used in Catalan and may be used in Spanish by speakers from areas where Catalan is also spoken. It's also used on some countries in the Americas.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    In English there is the sea robin, a fish that looks like the North American robin. The robin (bird) has an orange-red belly, as does the fish.
     
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    Kaoss

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Spain
    In catalan "Truita" means both "omelette" and "trout". Actually in a restaurant menu may say if it comes from the egg or from the river...

    Not a fish, but in spanish "langosta" means both "locust" and "lobster". When I was a child I did not undestood how come heremits in the bible were so poor that had to eat locusts....
     

    Chrzaszcz Saproksyliczny

    Senior Member
    Polish - Prussia
    So e.g. in Polish Cantharellus cibarius is called kurka (= little hen) or in some regions lisica (= vixen), Russula Pers. - gołąbek (= little pigeon) and Tricholoma equestre L. - gąska (= little goose), that's what came to my mind.
    The mushroom Macrolepiota procera is named sowa (owl) or kania (same as the bird the English call kite), depending on the region. Sorry if this went offtopic.
    czubajka.JPG
     
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