butterfly fish

noun

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, "Stand-up paddleboarding is a perfect social-distancing activity. Here are 6 spots to try it.," 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, "Celebrate World Ocean Month With Four Virtual Dives," 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

Statistics for butterfly fish

Last Updated

5 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Butterfly fish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/butterfly%20fish. Accessed 30 Sep. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on butterfly fish

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about butterfly fish

Comments on butterfly fish

What made you want to look up butterfly fish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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