AskDefine | Define shrimp

Dictionary Definition



1 disparaging terms for small people [syn: runt, peewee, half-pint]
2 any of various edible decapod crustaceans [syn: prawn]
3 small slender-bodied chiefly marine decapod crustaceans with a long tail and single pair of pincers; many species are edible v : fish for shrimp

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. any of many small decapod crustaceans, of the infraorders Caridea, many of which are edible
  2. uncountable food the flesh of the crustaceans
  3. a small or unimportant person



decapod crustacean
  • Czech: kreveta
  • Danish: reje
  • Dutch: garnaal
  • Faroese: rækja
  • Finnish: katkarapu
  • French: crevette
  • German: Garnele
  • Icelandic: rækja
  • Indonesian: udang
  • Japanese: エビ / えび (海老, , ebi)
  • Javanese: urang
  • Polish: krewetka
  • Portuguese: camarão
  • Romanian: crevete
  • Russian: креветка
  • Slovene: škamp
  • Spanish: camarón, gamba
  • Swedish: räka
  • Turkish: karides
  • Vietnamese: tôm
flesh of the crustacean
small person


  1. to fish for shrimp

Extensive Definition

True shrimp are swimming, decapod crustaceans classified in the infraorder Caridea, found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water. Together with prawns, they are widely caught and farmed for human consumption.


A number of more or less unrelated crustaceans share the word "shrimp" in their common name. Examples are the mantis shrimp and the opossum or mysid shrimp, both of which belong to the same class (Malacostraca) as the true shrimp, but constitute two different orders within it, the Stomatopoda and the Mysidacea. Triops longicaudatus and Triops cancriformis are also popular animals in freshwater aquaria, and are often called shrimp, although they belong instead to the Notostraca, a quite unrelated group. About 2000 species of true shrimps are known.
Shrimp are distinguished from the superficially similar prawns by the structure of the gills, There is, however, much confusion between the two, especially among non-specialists, and many shrimp are called "prawns" and many prawns are called "shrimp". This is particularly widespread in culinary contexts.

Shrimp as food

Recipes using shrimp form part of the cuisine of many cultures: examples include shrimp kebabs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried. Strictly speaking, dishes containing scampi should be made from the Norway lobster, a shrimp-like crustacean more closely related to the lobster than shrimp, but in some places it is quite common for large shrimp to be used instead.
As with other seafood, shrimp is high in calcium and protein but low in food energy. A shrimp-based meal is also a significant source of cholesterol, from 7 mg to 251 mg per 100 g of shrimp, depending on the method of preparation.
Wet shrimp is commonly used as a flavoring and as a soup base in Asian cuisines while fried shrimp is popular in North America. In Europe, shrimp is very popular, forming a necessary ingredient in Spanish paella de marisco, French bouillabaisse, Italian cacciucco, Portuguese caldeirada and many other seafood dishes. Shrimp curry is very popular in South Asia and Southeast Asia. Shrimp are also found in Latin and Caribbean dishes such as enchiladas and coconut shrimp.
Shrimp and other shellfish are among the most common food allergens.
According to SeafoodCrime UK, shrimp are currently on the list of seafood that sustainability minded American consumers should avoid.

Distinction from prawns

While in biological terms prawns are of a distinct biological suborder of Decapoda, in commercial farming and fishery the terms shrimp and prawn are often used interchangeably. In European countries, particularly the United Kingdom, the word “prawns” is more commonly on menus than the term “shrimp”, which is used more often in North America. The term “prawn” is also loosely used to describe any large shrimp, especially those that come 15 (or fewer) to the pound (also called “jumbo shrimp”). Australia and other Commonwealth countries follow this European/British use to an even greater extent, using the word “prawn” almost exclusively. Paul Hogan’s use of the phrase “I'll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you” in a television advertisement was intended to make what he was saying easier for his American audience to understand, and was thus a deliberate distortion of what an Australian would typically say.


Preparing shrimp for consumption usually involves removing the head, shell, tail, and "sand vein".
To deshell a shrimp, the tail is held while gently removing the shell around the body. The tail can be detached completely at this point, or left attached for presentation purposes.
Removing the "vein" (a euphemism for the digestive tract) can be referred to as "deveining", though in fact shrimp do not have any real veins; they have an open circulatory system. The "vein" can be removed by making a shallow cut lengthwise down the outer curve of the shrimp's body, allowing the dark ribbon-like digestive tract to be removed with a pointed utensil. Alternatively, if the tail has been detached, the vein can be pinched at the tail end and pulled out completely with the fingers.
The shrimp is then rinsed under cold running water.

Shrimp in aquaria

Several types of shrimp are kept in home aquaria. Some are purely ornamental, while others are useful in controlling algae and removing debris. Freshwater shrimp commonly available for aquaria include the Japanese marsh shrimp (Caridina multidentata, also called "Amano shrimp," as their use in aquaria was pioneered by Takashi Amano), cherry shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda), and ghost or glass shrimp (Palaemonetes spp.). Popular saltwater shrimp include the cleaner shrimp Lysmata amboinensis, the fire shrimp (Lysmata debelius) and the harlequin shrimp (Hymenocera picta).

See also


External links

shrimp in Arabic: روبيان
shrimp in Asturian: Esguila
shrimp in Min Nan: Hê-á
shrimp in Bulgarian: Скариди
shrimp in Catalan: Gamba
shrimp in Danish: Ægte reje
shrimp in German: Garnele
shrimp in Estonian: Krevetilised
shrimp in Spanish: Caridea
shrimp in Esperanto: Salikoko
shrimp in French: Crevette
shrimp in Korean: 새우
shrimp in Ido: Kreveto
shrimp in Indonesian: Udang
shrimp in Italian: Caridea
shrimp in Hebrew: חסילונים
shrimp in Dutch: Garnalen
shrimp in Dutch Low Saxon: Genoat
shrimp in Norwegian: Reker
shrimp in Narom: Chèrvette
shrimp in Polish: Krewetki
shrimp in Portuguese: Camarão
shrimp in Romanian: Crevete
shrimp in Quechua: Yukra
shrimp in Russian: Настоящие креветки
shrimp in Finnish: Katkaravut
shrimp in Swedish: Räkor
shrimp in Tagalog: Hipon
shrimp in Thai: กุ้ง
shrimp in Vietnamese: Tôm thực sự
shrimp in Turkish: Karides
shrimp in Urdu: جَمبری
shrimp in Zeeuws: Gornaet
shrimp in Chinese: 虾

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Chilopoda, Chordata, Dungeness crab, Echiuroidea, Ectoprocta, Entoprocta, Japanese crab, Lilliputian, Monoplacophora, Nemertinea, Phoronidea, Tom Thumb, a nobody, a nothing, angle, bait the hook, bantam, banty, blue point, bob, brownie, button, chit, cipher, clam, common man, coquillage, crab, crawdad, crawfish, crayfish, dap, dib, dibble, diminutive, drive, dummy, dwarf, elf, featherweight, figurehead, fingerling, fish, fly-fish, gig, gnome, go fishing, grig, guddle, homunculus, insignificancy, jack, jacklight, jackstraw, jig, langouste, lightweight, limpet, little fellow, little guy, littleneck clam, lobster, man of straw, manikin, mediocrity, midge, midget, mini, minikin, minnow, minny, mouse, mussel, nebbish, net, nobody one knows, nonentity, nubbin, obscurity, oyster, peewee, periwinkle, pip-squeak, pony, prawn, punk, pygmy, quahog, runt, scallop, scrub, seine, shellfish, slip, small fry, small potato, small potatoes, snail, snip, snippet, soft-shell crab, spin, squirt, squit, steamer, still-fish, tit, torch, trawl, troll, wart, whale, whelk, whiffet, whippersnapper, wisp
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