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[men-heyd-n] /mɛnˈheɪd 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 of menhaden
1635-45, Americanism; perhaps < Narragansett (E spelling) munnawhatteaûg, influenced by E dial. poghaden; cf. pogy1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for menhaden
Historical Examples
  • This place, like many neighboring sea-coast hamlets, was busily engaged in the mackerel and menhaden fishery.

  • I have already discussed this question at length with reference to the menhaden and mackerel.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • When fishing for these in the swift tideways, menhaden bait is used.

    Fast Nine Alan Douglas
  • Capt. Benjamin Ashby says that they feed on mackerel, herring, whiting, and menhaden.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • menhaden were used at an early date as a fertilizer all along the Atlantic coast.

    The Stronghold Miriam Haynie
  • Cascading thousands of menhaden crushed him violently to the floor.

    Smugglers' Reef John Blaine
  • The annual yield of the menhaden oil now exceeded the whale oil (from American fisheries) by about 200,000 gallons.

    The Stronghold Miriam Haynie
  • In all the adjacent waters vast numbers of menhaden are caught.

  • The menhaden fishing industry continued to grow and to advance with the times.

    The Stronghold Miriam Haynie
  • These fish are believed to have been menhaden, known to naturalists as brevoortia.

    The Stronghold Miriam Haynie
British Dictionary definitions for menhaden


noun (pl) -den
a marine North American fish, Brevoortia tyrannus: source of fishmeal, fertilizer, and oil: family Clupeidae (herrings, etc)
Word Origin
C18: from Algonquian; probably related to Narragansett munnawhatteaúg fertilizer, menhaden
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for menhaden

kind of herring, 1792, from Algonquian (probably Narragansett) munnawhateaug (noted from 1643), literally "they fertilize," because the abundant little fishes were used by the Indians as fertilizer.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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