1. the mass of eggs, or spawn, within the ovarian membrane of the female fish.
  2. the milt or sperm of the male fish.
  3. the eggs of any of various crustaceans, as the coral of the lobster.

noun, plural roes, (especially collectively) roe.

  1. roe deer.


  1. return on equity.


  1. Also called: hard roe the ovary of a female fish filled with mature eggs
  2. Also called: soft roe the testis of a male fish filled with mature sperm
  3. the ripe ovary of certain crustaceans, such as the lobster

noun plural roes or roe

  1. short for roe deer


  1. Richard Roe law (formerly) the defendant in a fictitious action, Doe versus Roe, to test a point of lawSee also Doe (def. 1)

“fish eggs,” mid-15c., probably from an unrecorded Old English *hrogn, from Proto-Germanic *khrugna (cf. Old Norse hrogn, Danish rogn, Swedish rom, Flemish rog, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch roge, Old High German rogo, German Rogen “roe”), from PIE *krek- “frog spawn, fish eggs” (cf. Lithuanian kurkle, Russian krjak “spawn of frogs”). Exact relations of the Germanic words are uncertain.


“small deer,” Old English ra, from raha, from Proto-Germanic *raikhaz (cf. Old Norse ra, Old Saxon reho, Middle Dutch and Dutch ree, Old High German reh, German Reh “roe”), of uncertain origin; perhaps from PIE root *rei- “streaked, spotted, striped in various colors.”

  1. The eggs of a fish, often together with the membrane of the ovary in which they are held.
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