A shark is a large, carnivorous fish — although it's hard to calmly think, "That's just a large fish" when you run into a shark while you're swimming in the ocean.

Almost all sharks live in the ocean, and while most of them are predators, the very largest sharks feed on plankton and tiny things like fish eggs. There are over four hundred species of shark, but only four have ever harmed humans; nevertheless, people have been afraid of these large, powerful animals for a long time. This dislike gave rise to the informal meaning of shark, "a person who swindles or preys on others."

Primary Meanings of shark

any of numerous elongate mostly marine carnivorous fishes with heterocercal caudal fins and tough skin covered with small toothlike scales
hunt shark
a person who is ruthless and greedy and dishonest
play the shark; act with trickery
Full Definitions of shark

n any of numerous elongate mostly marine carnivorous fishes with heterocercal caudal fins and tough skin covered with small toothlike scales

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Hexanchus griseus, cow shark, six-gilled shark
large primitive shark widely distributed in warm seas
mackerel shark
fierce pelagic and oceanic sharks
Alopius vulpinus, fox shark, thrasher, thresher, thresher shark
large pelagic shark of warm seas with a whiplike tail used to round up small fish on which to feed
Orectolobus barbatus, carpet shark
shark of the western Pacific with flattened body and mottled skin
Ginglymostoma cirratum, nurse shark
small bottom-dwelling shark of warm shallow waters on both coasts of North America and South America and from southeast Asia to Australia
Carcharias taurus, Odontaspis taurus, sand shark, sand tiger
shallow-water shark with sharp jagged teeth found on both sides of Atlantic; sometimes dangerous to swimmers
Rhincodon typus, whale shark
large spotted shark of warm surface waters worldwide; resembles a whale and feeds chiefly on plankton
cat shark
small bottom-dwelling sharks with cat-like eyes; found along continental slopes
requiem shark
any of numerous sharks from small relatively harmless bottom-dwellers to large dangerous oceanic and coastal species
any of several small sharks
hammerhead, hammerhead shark
medium-sized live-bearing shark with eyes at either end of a flattened hammer-shaped head; worldwide in warm waters; can be dangerous
Squatina squatina, angel shark, angelfish, monkfish
sharks with broad flat bodies and winglike pectoral fins but that swim the way sharks do
Lamna nasus, porbeagle
voracious pointed-nose shark of northern Atlantic and Pacific
mako, mako shark
powerful mackerel shark of the Atlantic and Pacific
Carcharodon carcharias, great white shark, man-eater, man-eating shark, white shark
large aggressive shark widespread in warm seas; known to attack humans
Cetorhinus maximus, basking shark
large harmless plankton-eating northern shark; often swims slowly or floats at the sea surface
Carcharhinus leucas, bull shark, cub shark
a most common shark in temperate and tropical coastal waters worldwide; heavy-bodied and dangerous
Carcharhinus plumbeus, sandbar shark
most common grey shark along coasts of middle Atlantic states; sluggish and occasionally caught by fishermen
Carcharhinus limbatus, blacktip shark, sandbar shark
widely distributed shallow-water shark with fins seemingly dipped in ink
Carcharinus longimanus, oceanic whitetip shark, white-tipped shark, whitetip shark
large deep-water shark with white-tipped dorsal fin; worldwide distribution; most dangerous shark
Carcharhinus obscurus, dusky shark
relatively slender blue-grey shark; nearly worldwide in tropical and temperate waters
Negaprion brevirostris, lemon shark
common shallow-water schooling shark of the Atlantic from North Carolina to Brazil and off west Africa; dangerous
Prionace glauca, blue shark, great blue shark
slender cosmopolitan, pelagic shark; blue body shades to white belly; dangerous especially during maritime disasters
Galeocerdo cuvieri, tiger shark
large dangerous warm-water shark with striped or spotted body
Galeorhinus zyopterus, soup-fin, soupfin, soupfin shark
Pacific shark valued for its fins (used by Chinese in soup) and liver (rich in vitamin A)
smooth dogfish
small bottom-dwelling shark found along both Atlantic coasts
spiny dogfish
small bottom-dwelling dogfishes
Sphyrna zygaena, smooth hammerhead
fished for the hides and vitamin-rich liver
Sphyrna tudes, smalleye hammerhead
fished for the hide and vitamin-rich liver
Sphyrna tiburo, bonnet shark, bonnethead, shovelhead
small harmless hammerhead having a spade-shaped head; abundant in bays and estuaries
Type of:
elasmobranch, selachian
any of numerous fishes of the class Chondrichthyes characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton and placoid scales: sharks; rays; skates

v hunt shark

Type of:
catch or try to catch fish or shellfish

n a person who is ruthless and greedy and dishonest

loan shark, moneylender, shylock, usurer
someone who lends money at excessive rates of interest
Type of:
offender, wrongdoer
a person who transgresses moral or civil law

n a person who is unusually skilled in certain ways

“a card shark
Type of:
expert, pundit
a person with special knowledge or ability who performs skillfully

v play the shark; act with trickery

Type of:
cheat, chisel
engage in deceitful behavior; practice trickery or fraud

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