butterfly fish


Definition of butterfly fish

1 : any of a family (Chaetodontidae) of small brilliantly colored bony fishes of tropical seas with a narrow deep body and scaled fins
2 : a small brown freshwater bony fish (Pantodon buchholzi of the family Pantodontidae) of western Africa that has elongate winglike pectoral fins

Examples of butterfly fish in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It’s not uncommon to also see red pencil sea urchins, butterfly fish and moray eels. Sarah Sekula, USA TODAY, 23 Aug. 2020 During the dive, sea turtles—honu in Hawaiian—relax, swim nearby and enjoy a visit to butterfly fish and other reef fish that eat the algae off of their shells. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 June 2020

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

First Known Use of butterfly fish

1931, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About butterfly fish

Time Traveler for butterfly fish

Time Traveler

The first known use of butterfly fish was in 1931

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near butterfly fish


butterfly fish

butterfly flower

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for butterfly fish

Cite this Entry

“Butterfly fish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/butterfly%20fish. Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on butterfly fish

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about butterfly fish


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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