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Prawn is a common name for small aquatic crustaceans with an exoskeleton and ten legs (members of the order of decapods), some of which are edible.
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The term prawn is used particularly in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Commonwealth nations, for large swimming crustaceans or shrimp, especially those with commercial significance in the fishing industry. Shrimp in this category often belong to tát the suborder Dendrobranchiata. In North America, the term is used less frequently, typically for freshwater shrimp. The terms shrimp and prawn themselves lack scientific standing. Over the years, the way they are used has changed, and in contemporary usage, the terms are almost interchangeable.
Shrimp vs. prawn
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The terms shrimp and prawn are common names, not scientific names, and lack the formal definition of scientific terms. They are not taxa, but are terms of convenience with little circumscriptional significance.
According to tát the crustacean taxonomist Tin-Yam Chan, "The terms shrimp and prawn have no definite reference to tát any known taxonomic groups. Although the term shrimp is sometimes applied to tát smaller species, while prawn is more often used for larger forms, there is no clear distinction between both terms and their usage is often confused or even reverse in different countries or regions." Writing in 1980, L. B. Holthuis noted that the terms prawn and shrimp were used inconsistently "even within a single region", generalising that larger species fished commercially were generally called shrimp in the United States, and prawns in other English-speaking countries, although not without exceptions.
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Some confusion around the scope of the term shrimp originates with the association of smallness, particularly with shrimp-like species that are not small. The expression "jumbo shrimp" can be viewed as an oxymoron.
The term shrimp originated around the 14th century with the Middle English shrimpe, akin to tát the Middle Low German schrempen, and meaning to tát contract or wrinkle; and the Old Norse skorpna, meaning to tát shrivel up, or skreppa, meaning a thin person. It is not clear where the term prawn originated, but early forms of the word surfaced in England in the early 15th century as prayne, praine and prane. According to tát the linguist Anatoly Liberman it is unclear how shrimp, in English, came to tát be associated with small. "No Germanic language associates the shrimp with its size... The same holds for Romance... it remains unclear in what circumstances the name was applied to tát the crustacean."
Taxonomic studies in Europe on shrimp and prawns were shaped by the common shrimp and the common prawn, both found in huge numbers along the European coastlines. The common shrimp, Crangon crangon, was categorised in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus, and the common prawn, Palaemon serratus, was categorised in 1777 by Thomas Pennant. The common shrimp is a small burrowing species aligned with the notion of a shrimp as being something small, whereas the common prawn is much larger. The terms true shrimp or true prawn are sometimes used to tát mean what a particular person thinks is a shrimp or prawn.
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The terms shrimp and prawn originated in Britain. In the use of common names for species, shrimp is applied to tát smaller species, particularly species that are dorsoventrally depressed (wider than thở deep) with a shorter rostrum. It is the only term used for species in the family Crangonidae, such as the common shrimp or brown shrimp, Crangon crangon. Prawn is never applied to tát very small species. It is applied to tát most of the larger forms, particularly species that are laterally compressed (deeper than thở wide) and have a long rostrum. However, the terms are not used consistently. For example, some authors refer to tát Pandalus montagui as an Aesop shrimp, while others refer to tát it as an Aesop prawn.
Commonwealth countries, and Ireland, tend to tát follow British usage. Some exceptions occur in nước Australia, where some authors refer to tát small species of the Palaemonidae as prawns and Điện thoại tư vấn the Alpheidae pistol shrimp. Other Australian authors have given the name banded coral shrimp to tát the prawn-like Stenopus hispidus and listed "the Processidae and Atyidae as shrimps, the Hippolytidae, Alpheidae, Pandalidae and Campylonotoidea as prawns". New Zealand broadly follows British usage. A rule of thumb given by some New Zealand authors states: "In common usage, shrimp are small, some three inches or less in length, taken for food by netting, usually from shallow water. Prawn are larger, up to tát 12 inches long, taken by trapping and trawling." In Canada, the terms are often used interchangeably as in New Zealand (larger species are prawns, and smaller are often shrimp), but regional variations exist. In western provinces, prawn is almost exclusively the general term. South Africa and the former British colonies in Asia also seem to tát follow British usage generally.
Shrimp is the more general term in the United States. The term prawn is less commonly used in the United States, being applied mainly to tát larger shrimp and those living in freshwater. 
- Shrimp and prawn as food
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- ^ a b c d e Holthuis, L. B. (1980) Shrimps and prawns of the world Volume I of the FAO species catalogue, Fisheries Synopsis No.125, Rome. ISBN 92-5-100896-5.
- ^ Warren S. Blumenfeld (20 November 1986). Jumbo shrimp & other almost perfect oxymorons: contradictory expressions that make absolute sense. Putnam. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-399-51306-0.
- ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary: Shrimp".
- ^ "Shrimp". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- ^ prawnOnline Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- ^ Prawn Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
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- ^ Liberman, Anatoly (2012) A scrumptious shrimp with a riddle Oxford University Press's Blog, 18 April 2012.
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- Shrimp versus prawn shrimp, lobster, crab ngrams
- Shrimp versus prawns – YouTube