Dolly Varden


Dol·​ly Var·​den ˌdä-lē-ˈvär-dᵊn- How to pronounce Dolly Varden (audio)
variants or Dolly Varden trout
: a large freshwater or anadromous char (Salvelinus malma) that is widespread in streams of northwestern North America and eastern Asia, may attain a weight of 20 pounds (9.1 kilograms) but is usually much smaller, and is typically olive green to greenish-brown with yellow to red spots when found in fresh water and silvery with orange spots in salt water

Examples of Dolly Varden in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Norton put the Dolly Varden in a metal bucket to take home to his mother. Alec Luhn, Scientific American, 19 Dec. 2023 These frigid Arctic waters aren’t particularly productive, biologically speaking, meaning there isn’t normally a tremendous amount for native species like Dolly Varden and Arctic char to eat. WIRED, 18 Oct. 2023 The year of 1987 brought a critical event, the first appearance of fish — insect larva-loving Dolly Varden char. Lesley Evans Ogden, Discover Magazine, 7 Apr. 2023 The year of 1987 brought a critical event, the first appearance of fish—insect larva-loving Dolly Varden char. Lesley Evans Ogden, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Apr. 2023 Pilot Morin guessed the fish was about 12-18 inches long and may have been a Dolly Varden, appropriate given the season. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Aug. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Dolly Varden.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Dolly Varden, gaily dressed coquette in Barnaby Rudge (1841), novel by Charles Dickens

First Known Use

circa 1876, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Dolly Varden was circa 1876

Dictionary Entries Near Dolly Varden

Cite this Entry

“Dolly Varden.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!