bet·​ta | \ ˈbe-tə How to pronounce betta (audio) \

Definition of betta

: any of a genus (Betta of the family Anabantidae) of small brilliantly colored long-finned freshwater bony fishes of southeastern Asia especially : siamese fighting fish

Examples of betta in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An unnamed blue betta, the fish was dying as the temperature inside Oyo’s apartment dropped overnight due to an ongoing power shortage. Nic Garcia, Dallas News, "‘This is not OK’: Residents endure a night without power in Dallas’ Oak Lawn area," 16 Feb. 2021 Never mind that the usable life of most gadgets lasts about as long as the average betta fish, fated to swim around a glass bowl for a year or two until it is dumped, unceremoniously, down the toilet. Arielle Pardes, Wired, "Nature Will Triumph—and Reclaim All Our Gadgets," 17 Jan. 2020 Maybe next to our deceased betta fish, under the redwood trees? Vanessa Hua,, "The wonder of silkworms, past and present," 5 July 2019 A domestic dispute in Connecticut ended with significant property damage, including a woman's betta fish being cut in half. Ajc Homepage, ajc, "Police: Man cuts girlfriend's betta fish in half during fight," 29 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'betta.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of betta

1887, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for betta

borrowed from New Latin Betta, genus name, borrowed from Javanese betah (phonetically b̥ətah with breathy voice following b̥), in the phrase wader betah (wader "any of various freshwater fishes"), probably the same word as betah "endure" (going back to Old Javanese bĕtah "possessing staying power, tenacious, stubborn")

Note: The genus name Betta was introduced by the Dutch physician and ichthyologist Pieter Bleeker (1819-78) in "Bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Midden- en Oost-Java," Verhandelingen van het Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschapen, Deel 23 (1850), p. 14. Bleeker lists the local name (nomen indigenum) of his Betta trifasciata at Ambarawa (central Java) as "Ikan Wader betta" (with Malay ikan "fish" prefacing all the indigenous names).

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Last Updated

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Betta.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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