Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several species of fish of the genus Brevoortia, especially B. tyrannus of American Atlantic and Gulf waters, used as a source of fish oil, fertilizer, and bait. Also called mossbunker, pogy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several species of fish in the genera Brevoortia and Ethmidium, used for fish meal, fish oil, fertilizer, and bait.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An American marine fish (Brevoortia tyrannus) of the Herring family (Clupeidae), chiefly valuable for its oil and as a component of fertilizers; -- called also mossbunker, bony fish, chebog, pogy, hardhead, whitefish, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A clupeoid fish, Brevoortia tyrannus.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. shad-like North American marine fishes used for fish meal and oil and fertilizer

Etymologies

Probably blend of Narragansett munnawhatteaûg, a herring-like fish; akin to munnohquohteau, he enriches the land (from its use as a fertilizer) and English dialectal poghaden (probably of Algonquian origin).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Narragansett munnawhatteaug, influenced by poghaden. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The panel noted, however, that shrimp, crab and an economically important fish called menhaden were "at high risk of being directly affected by dispersant use."

    Success on Surface, Questions Below

  • The Houston company's main products, omega-3 fish oil used as a dietary supplement and fish meal used in pig feed, are derived from a very oily fish called menhaden, more commonly known as "bunker."

  • Catch restrictions loom on menhaden, which is too unsavory to grace a dinner plate but much sought by commercial fishermen.

    The Seattle Times

  • The fish are called menhaden, and depending on who's talking, they either

    WN.com - Articles related to Royal Challengers Bangalore elect to bowl against Delhi Daredevils

  • A considerable portion of fish oil comes from a creature upon which the entire Atlantic coastal ecosystem relies, a big-headed, smelly, foot-long member of the herring family called menhaden, which a recent book identifies in its title as "The Most Important Fish in the Sea."

    Medlogs - Recent stories

  • The fish are called menhaden, and depending on who's talking, they either are in big trouble or getting along swimmingly.

    The Shad Plank

  • In conjunction with Mother Jones magazine, NOW investigates how a small, bony fish that we don't even eat-called menhaden-is setting off a political showdown across state lines.

    NewsHour with Jim Lehrer Podcast | PBS

  • The menhaden is a small fish that in its multitudes plays such a big role in our economy and environment that its fate shouldn't be effectively controlled by a single company and its bottles of fish oil supplements.

    NYT > Home Page

  • The deal with fish oil, I found out, is that a considerable portion of it comes from a creature upon which the entire Atlantic coastal ecosystem relies, a big-headed, smelly, foot-long member of the herring family called menhaden, which a recent book identifies in its title as "The Most Important Fish in the Sea."

    NYT > Home Page

  • Sounds Fishy: If you're someone who takes fish-oil supplements, consider where it comes from ... and how a single company has control over 90 percent of a vital, but little-known fish called the menhaden, according to this New York Times opinion piece.

    Epicurious.com: New Recipes

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