menhaden

[men-heyd-n]
noun, plural menhaden.
any marine clupeid fish of the genus Brevoortia, especially B. tyrannus, resembling a shad but with a more compressed body, common along the eastern coast of the U.S., and used for making oil and fertilizer.

Origin:
1635–45, Americanism; perhaps < Narragansett (E spelling) munnawhatteaûg, influenced by E dial. poghaden; cf. pogy1

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World English Dictionary
menhaden (mɛnˈheɪdən)
 
n , pl -den
a marine North American fish, Brevoortia tyrannus: source of fishmeal, fertilizer, and oil: family Clupeidae (herrings, etc)
 
[C18: from Algonquian; probably related to Narragansett munnawhatteaúg fertilizer, menhaden]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

menhaden
1792, from Algonquian (probably Narragansett) munnawhateaug (1643), lit. "they fertilize," because the abundant little fishes were used by the Indians as fertilizer.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Giant oyster reefs there have long since been harvested, as have the menhaden.
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