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Prawns are an edible large shrimp-like crustacean; in Great Britain the name is usually applied to Leander serratus (see shrimp).

The word is in Middle English prayne or prane, and no cognate forms are found in any other languages. It has been often connected to the Latin perna, a ham-shaped shellfish, but this is due to an old scholarly error which connected perna and parnocchie with prawne-fishes or shrimps. In fact, the Old Italian perna and pernocchia meant a shellfish which yielded nacre or mother-of-pearl.