Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A European ray (Raja clavata) having spines along the back.
  • n. A fish (Platyrhinoidis triseriata) of Pacific waters, related to the guitarfish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The thornback guitarfish (Platyrhinoidis triseriata), a species of ray in the north-eastern Pacific Ocean.
  • n. The thornback ray or thornback skate (Raja clavata), a species of ray in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • n. The thornback skate (Dentiraja lemprieri), a fish endemic to Australia.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A European skate (Raia clavata) having thornlike spines on its back.
  • n. The large European spider crab or king crab (Maia squinado).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Australia, one of the sting-rays, Raja lemprieri or Raja rostata, of the family Rajidæ.
  • n. A kind of ray or skate, Raia clavata, common on the British coasts, distinguished by the short and strong spines which are scattered over the back and tail.
  • n. The common British spider-crab, Maia squinado. Sometimes called king-crab. See cut under Maia.

Etymologies

thorn +‎ back (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • So also our fishing would be advanced and improved highly by encouraging many poor men to follow that calling, and sundry sorts which are now slighted would be fit for a town market, as sturgeon, thornback, and catfish.

    The Bounty of the Chesapeake Fishing in Colonial Virginia

  • This gulf abounds with delicious fish; as the _sarde_ (pilchard) red fish, cod, sturgeon, ringed thornback, and many other sorts, the best in their kind.

    History of Louisisana Or of the Western Parts of Virginia and Carolina: Containing

  • "Looked as much like a giant thornback as anything I ever saw," remarked

    The Cruise of the Nonsuch Buccaneer

  • Hence it may be seen that though there was not in Boston the "glorious phalanx of old maids" of Theodore Parker's description, yet the Boston old maid was lovely even in colonial days, though she did bear the odious name of thornback.

    Customs and Fashions in Old New England

  • "Antient maides" were held in little esteem by him; not one thornback is on his list.

    Customs and Fashions in Old New England

  • It is these purses, and those of the thornback and the edible skate, that we oftenest pick up on the English coast.

    Science in Arcady

  • The great ugly sharky fish was hooked forward by Josh and placed in a great basket, where it lay writhing its eely tail, and flapping its wing-like fins as the boat slowly progressed, and bait after bait was replaced, many being untouched, the thornback, skate, or ray being the only fish taken.

    Menhardoc

  • Through the glass, high above his head, and not far from the surface, he saw a huge thornback, bending toward them and seeming to look down on them, as it flew slowly through the water -- the action of the two sides of its body fringed with fins, and its consequent motion, were much more like the act of flying than that of swimming.

    Weighed and Wanting

  • The boy gave a curious half-sad smile, without turning his eyes from the thornback, and said nothing.

    Weighed and Wanting

  • These include perch; bream; the john-dory; carp; barbel; salmon; pike; trout; sturgeon; the shark; thornback; lamprey; turbot; plaice; sole; flounder; cod; haddock; &c. INSECTS AND SHELLS.

    How to See the British Museum in Four Visits

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