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[min-oh] /ˈmɪn oʊ/
noun, plural (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) minnows (especially collectively, Rare) minnow for 1, 2, 3.
a small, European cyprinoid fish, Phoxinus phoxinus.
any other fish of the family Cyprinidae, including the carps, goldfishes, and daces.
any of various unrelated, small fishes.
a person or thing that is comparatively small or insignificant.
1325-75; Middle English minwe, Old English *mynwe (feminine) for myne (masculine); cognate with Old High German munewa kind of fish Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for minnows
  • Eggs caught in the receding waters of the tide are snatched up by crabs, eels and minnows.
  • In the wild, fathead minnows establish nests, which males defend from rivals.
  • When one is hungry, chances of eating are better looking for minnows that gunning for the big whale.
  • The swirling pattern made by the crowd on the beach has the organic coherence of a shoal of minnows or a flock of gulls.
  • Guppies and minnows are good fish to have for mosquito control.
  • Both flathead minnows and southern leopard frogs hatch more quickly when threatened by certain crayfish.
  • These waders feed on minnows in shallow water by using their bills to perform a rare and effective fishing technique.
  • The lake trout's flesh is pink or white depending upon his chosen diet-shellfish or minnows.
  • Blind minnows, to his surprise, still reliably darkened in response to light.
  • Phil cast bread upon the waters and the minnows jump.
British Dictionary definitions for minnows


noun (pl) -nows, -now
a small slender European freshwater cyprinid fish, Phoxinus phoxinus
any other small cyprinid
(angling) a spinning lure imitating a minnow
a small or insignificant person
Word Origin
C15: related to Old English myne minnow; compare Old High German muniwa fish
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 minnows



small freshwater fish, early 15c., probably related to Old English myne, earlier *mynwe, a name for some kind of fish, from Proto-Germanic *muniwon (cf. Middle Low German möne, Dutch meun, Old High German muniwa, German Münne), of unknown origin, perhaps from PIE *men- "small." Perhaps influenced in Middle English by French menu "small."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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