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First attested 1869. Up to now there exist at least three versions on where the name piranha comes from:
- From a hybrid-language composed of Tupi-Guaraní languages; it may be a compound word made of the components pirá (“‘fish’”) + sanha or ranha (“‘tooth’”).
- From Old Tupi pirá (“‘fish’”) + ánha (“‘cut’”).
- From Portuguese piranha, from Old Tupi pira nya, variant of pira'ya (“‘scissors fish’”).
- A kind of dangerous fish; may be used in a figurative sense.
- A carnivorous freshwater fish living in South American rivers and belonging to the families of Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus.
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From Old Tupi.
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