What is the word for fish-like that is similar to these words:

  • Mammalian (mammals)
  • Reptilian (reptiles)
  • Avian (birds)
  • Amphibian (e.g. frogs)
  • Crustacean (e.g. crabs)
  • Saurian (e.g. dinosaurs)
  • Fungal (mushrooms)
  • Botanical, Floral (plants)
  • Insectoid (insects, arachnids)
  • Draconic (dragons!)
  • Cetacean (e.g. whales)

I know these are not all at the same level of classification, but I can't find the smart-sounding word for fishy. I think it probably should have a suffix like:

and a foreign root word like:

  • piscis (latin)
  • psári (greek)
  • pesce (italian)

... piscian? piscent? psarian? psarine? pescatarian? pescal?

I need an adjective that is like:

The term _________ denotes any creature or object that shares a similar body or traits with common bony fish.

I have found the words:

  • marine
  • aquatic

...but they don't really help, since I want to distinguish fish from other marine life like starfish, jellyfish, cuttlefish, crayfish, etc. I've searched all over wikipedia's taxonomy section but can't find anything.

The term can include sharks if necessary, but I would prefer it without. (Bonus points for finding the term for sharks!)

I want to be able to use it like:

The residue contained ____ DNA.

But using:

The residue contained fishy DNA.

just sounds awfully stupid.



I plugged the top 3 answers (fishlike, piscine, ichthyic) into Google's Ngram Viewer and it looks like piscine is the winner. I also checked scholar.google for ichthyic and piscine and got about 1,000 and 70,000 results respectively.

Thanks all!


Piscine adjective

of, relating to, or resembling a fish.

(Collins English Dictionary.)

Or fishlike:

Having some characteristics of a fish.

  • Similar to that of a fish; as, fishlike scales, fishlike eyes


In the sentence about DNA you can use the term fish as a noun adjunct.


Perhaps you could use:

Of, relating to, or characteristic of fishes.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language

Not sure how widely used or understood the term is, though.

See also Wikipedia's List of commonly used taxonomic affixes:

ichthyo-, -ichthys: Pronunciation: /ɪkθioʊs/, /ɪkθis/. Origin: Ancient Greek ίχθυς (ichthus). Meaning: fish. The suffix "-ichthys" is used for fish, while the prefix "ichthyo-", while used for fish, is also used for fish-like creatures.


If you want a term that relates specifically to bony fish, then I guess you'd want to change it to osteoichthyic?

  • hrmm... the root for this word is the "Christian Fish Symbol" which doesn't actually mean fish, but is an acronym for some religious mumbo-jumbo. – Stephen Furlani Oct 4 '18 at 22:45
  • 4
    @StephenFurlani Ichthyology is the accepted term for the branch of zoology devoted to the study of fish. The root is the Greek word ikhtus meaning fish - the religious connotation came much later. – michael.hor257k Oct 4 '18 at 22:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.