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Any of various small live-bearing fishes of the genus Gambusia of the Americas, which are popular in home aquariums and have become widely naturalized because of their use for mosquito control.

[New Latin Gambusia, genus name, coined (perhaps in reference to their small size) in 1851 by Cuban zoologist Felipe Poey y Aloy from Cuban Spanish colloquial gambusino, nothing (as in pescar gambusinos, to go on a snipe hunt, literally "to fish for gambusinos"), variant of Spanish gamusino, imaginary creature that children or naive persons are sent to hunt as a practical joke, object of a snipe hunt; perhaps akin to Old French gabuser, to dupe, from gab, mockery, jeering, probably from Old Norse gabb; akin to gabba, to scoff; see gab.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Animals) a member of a genus of small primarily freshwater fish of the family Poeciliidae, widely used in aquaria
2. (Animals) the mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis)
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(gæmˈbyu ʒə, -ʒi ə)

n., pl. -sias.
any fish of the genus Gambusia, comprising small livebearers that feed on aquatic insect larvae and are used to control mosquitoes.
[1900–05; < New Latin, alter. of Cuban Sp gambusino; see -ia]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.gambusia - mosquitofishGambusia - mosquitofish        
fish genus - any of various genus of fish
Gambusia affinis, mosquitofish - silvery topminnow with rows of black spots of tropical North America and West Indies; important in mosquito control
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
All surviving Big Bend gambusias have descended from these three fish.
One of just two existing populations of the Big Bend gambusia (Gambusia gaigei) was lost when the spring went dry.
With a precariously low population, the gambusia's chances for survival were grim and extinction seemed inevitable.