Matsya a Sanscrit word, signifying a fish, and forming the name, in Hindu mythology, of the first avatar of Vishnu. On that occasion the preserving deity is said to have assumed the form of a great fish shining like gold, and, according to one account, "extending a million leagues," that he might protect the ark which contained Satyavrata and the seven Rhisis with their wives, all the rest of the human race having been destroyed by the deluge. SEE MOOR, Hind Pantheon, s.v.; Thomas, Dict. of Biog, and Mythol. s.v.