The Meaning of Catfished: What It Is and How To Use It

Catfish isn’t just a fish in the sea! This article will teach you about the meaning of catfish as slang and how to use it.

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Have you ever been catfished? This article will teach you all about the slang term catfish and how to use it. You will discover the definition and origin of the word catfish and how to use it in a sentence, translations of catfished, and words you can use in place of the word catfished. 

Make sure that you don’t get catfished by people online! Knowledge is power, after all.

What Does Catfished Mean?

According to Dictionary, a catfish is a person who deceives someone else online by putting on a fake identity or by creating a fake profile. Catfish can also be a verb meaning to deceive or swindle. If someone has been catfished, they have been deceived by one of these online profiles.

The term catfished is most often used on social media sites and online dating apps to refer to someone pretending to be someone else to form an online relationship. However, there are several red flags you can look out for to see if someone might be trying to catfish or scam you with a false online identity.

First, you can suggest a video chat like FaceTime to get to know one another better. For example, if someone looks different in real life than they do in their profile picture, they might refuse to video call because they know a call will reveal their false identity.

There are many reasons why someone might catfish someone else. For example, a catfish might simply be lonely and looking for company, or they might have darker intentions, like cyberbullying, identity fraud, financial gain, and more. 

What Is the Etymology of Catfished?

The term catfish originated as a Christian parable in the early 1900s. In this story, fishers would ship codfish with catfish because the catfish kept the codfish alert and active.

In 2010, the slang term catfish rose to popularity with the documentary Catfish, directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost. Here, the catfish keeps their victim on their toes, just like the catfish does to the codfish in the parable. 

In the documentary, the subject Nev Schulman discovers that his online dating romance is with a woman who has a completely fake profile. This documentary led to the MTV reality show Catfish: The TV Show, which premiered in November 2012. From there, the popularity of the term catfish skyrocketed on social media. 

One famous example of catfishing is when the star football player from the University of Notre Dame, Manti Te’o, revealed that his romantic relationship was a catfish.

What Are Translations of Catfished?

The term catfished is an English slang term. Many other countries may not understand this slang term, even if you directly translate the word catfished. To eliminate any confusion, try using one of the below translations of the word deceived from Nice Translator. This way, people will know what you mean, and there will be no confusion.

  • Gujarati: છેતરતી
  • Dutch: bedrogen
  • Icelandic: blekkt
  • Slovak: podvedený
  • Spanish: engañado
  • Russian: обманут
  • Portuguese (Portugal): enganado
  • Welsh: nhwyllodedig
  • Bengali: প্রতারিত
  • Ukrainian: обдурений
  • German: betrogen
  • Croatian: prevaren
  • Lithuanian: apgavo
  • Telugu: మోసపోయింది
  • Italian: ingannato
  • Polish: oszukane
  • Portuguese (Brazil): enganado
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 受騙
  • Catalan: enganyat
  • Estonian: petetud
  • Danish: bedraget
  • Turkish: aldatılmış
  • Swahili: kudanganywa
  • Bulgarian: измамен
  • Hebrew: מְרוּמֶה
  • Hungarian: becsapott
  • Tamil: ஏமாற்றப்பட்டது
  • Romanian: înșelat
  • Latvian: maldināts
  • Swedish: lurad
  • Thai: ถูกหลอกลวง
  • Greek: εξαπατημένος
  • Urdu: دھوکہ دہی
  • Malayalam: വഞ്ചിതനായ
  • Filipino: nilinlang
  • Arabic: خدع
  • Serbian: преварен
  • Kannada: ವಂಚಿಸಿದ
  • Marathi: फसवले
  • Chinese (PRC): 受骗
  • Indonesian: ditipu
  • Korean: 속임수
  • Norwegian: lurt
  • Vietnamese: bị lừa dối
  • Japanese: だまされた
  • French: trompé
  • Finnish: petetty
  • Czech: podvedl
  • Hindi: धोखा
  • Amharic: ተታልሏል
  • Slovenian: zavajano
  • Malay: ditipu
  • Basque: engertatu

What Are Synonyms of Catfished?

The word catfish is a slang term and is not always appropriate to use in certain formal or professional contexts. If you want to describe someone or something deceived or conned, you can use one of the below synonyms from Power Thesaurus

It is important to know synonyms for different slang terms because these informal words are not always appropriate in business contexts. 

  • apple-polished
  • bamboozled
  • be deceived
  • bearded
  • beguiled
  • betrayed
  • bilked
  • blagged
  • bluffed
  • bum-steer
  • burned
  • cheated
  • circumvented
  • confused
  • conned
  • counterfeited
  • cozened
  • deceived
  • defrauded
  • deluded
  • diddled
  • disappointed
  • disinformed
  • double-crossed
  • duped
  • entrapped
  • faked-out
  • falsified
  • fast-talked
  • fibbed
  • finagled
  • fleeced
  • flimflammed
  • fool
  • fooled
  • foxed
  • gammoned
  • gulled
  • gypped
  • had
  • hoaxed
  • hoodwinked
  • hornswoggled
  • in the dark
  • inveigle
  • juked
  • led up the garden path
  • misguided
  • misinformed
  • mislead
  • misled
  • mistaken
  • mousetrapped
  • mulcted
  • outfoxed
  • outsmarted
  • outwit
  • outwitted
  • overdrew
  • overreached
  • play someone false
  • played
  • rooked
  • scammed
  • shortchanged
  • snared
  • swindled
  • taken
  • trapped
  • tricked
  • victimized
  • wrong

What Are Antonyms of Catfished?

If someone is the opposite of catfished, they are informed or know the truth. To learn different words that mean the opposite of catfish, look at the below list provided by Power Thesaurus

  • abreast
  • acquainted
  • advised
  • announced
  • apprised
  • au courant
  • au fait
  • aware
  • briefed
  • cognizant
  • communicated
  • conscious
  • conversant
  • cultivated
  • cultured
  • educated
  • enlightened
  • erudite
  • familiar
  • hip
  • in the know
  • in the loop
  • informed
  • instructed
  • intelligent
  • knowing
  • knowledge
  • knowledgeable
  • learn
  • learned
  • lettered
  • literate
  • made aware
  • made known
  • notified
  • posted
  • primed
  • reported
  • sagacious
  • sage
  • said
  • schooled
  • sensible
  • sophisticated
  • taught
  • told
  • up on
  • versed
  • well-informed
  • well-read
  • wise
  • witting


Catfished is a slang term that means received or swindled, especially in online dating or social media. If someone gets catfished, someone else has tricked them into believing that they are a different person than they are in real life. 

Someone who catfishes someone else is called the catfish. The origin of the term catfish is an early 1900s Christian parable about catfish and codfish. 


  1. Deceived synonyms – 389 Words and Phrases for Deceived | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Catfish Definition & Meaning |
  3. Informed synonyms – 950 Words and Phrases for Informed | Power Thesaurus  
  4. Deceived | Nice Translator