grun·​ion | \ ˈgrən-yən How to pronounce grunion (audio) \

Definition of grunion

: a silverside (Leuresthes tenuis) of the California coast notable for the regularity with which it comes inshore to spawn at nearly full moon

Examples of grunion in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In addition to public safety, monitors will watch for signs of any sea turtles or grunion, the fish that spawn on the sand, during the dredging. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Carlsbad lagoon dredging starts soon," 19 Oct. 2020 In Southern California, residents are missing the annual ritual of the grunion runs — a spectacle of chasing the slender, sardine-like fish that show up on California’s sandy shores each year. Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times, "Another Coronavirus Casualty: Spring," 12 Apr. 2020 To catch grunion, a California fishing license is required for anyone 16 and older, and no holes may be dug in the beach to entrap them, according to the department. Daily Pilot Staff,, "Around Town: Heroes Hall event to celebrate Army’s 244th anniversary," 13 June 2019 Ocean fishing turns up perch, corbina, croaker, cabezon, shovel-nose guitar fish and sand shark — and on full moons in summer — bare-handed hunting for California grunion, which spawn on sandy SoCal beaches (fishing permit required). Roy M. Wallack,, "Weekend getaways: 7 great camping sites within driving distance of L.A.," 26 June 2019 During grunion spawning season, there is an open season for gathering the fish. Ernie Cowan Outdoors,, "Annual spring ritual of grunion arriving on beaches," 28 Apr. 2018 Don’t miss the spectacle of the small, silver fish called grunion laying their eggs in wet sand on the beach during full moons in June through August. Sunset, "13 Best Beach Camping Spots," 22 Jan. 2018 Southern California, however, is ground zero for grunion runs. Deborah Sullivan Brennan,, "Fish out of water: grunion runs launch on San Diego beaches," 15 Mar. 2018 Humans aren’t the only ones hunting grunion, though. Deborah Sullivan Brennan,, "Fish out of water: grunion runs launch on San Diego beaches," 15 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of grunion

1917, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for grunion

probably from Spanish gruñón grunter

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about grunion

Time Traveler for grunion

Time Traveler

The first known use of grunion was in 1917

See more words from the same year

Statistics for grunion

Cite this Entry

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on grunion Encyclopedia article about grunion

Comments on grunion

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


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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