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Any one of numerous species of big, flatelasmobranch fishes of the genus Raia, having a long, slender tail, terminated by a littlecaudal fin. The pectoral fins, which are big and broad and united to the sides of the body and head, give a somewhat rhombicform to these fishes. The skin is more or smaller spinose.
Some of the species are used for food, as the European blue or gray skate (Raia batis), which sometimes weighs almost 200 pounds. The American smooth, or barn-door, skate (R. Laevis) is also a big species, often becoming three or four foots across. The generalspinyskate (R. Erinacea) is many less. Skate's egg. See Sea purse. Skate sucker, any marineleech of the genus Pontobdella, parasitic on skates.
Origin: Icel. Skata; cf. Prov. G. Schatten, meer-schatten, L. Squatus, squatina, and E. Shad.
Source: Websters Vocabulary