hal·​i·​but | \ ˈha-lə-bət How to pronounce halibut (audio) also ˈhä- \
plural halibut also halibuts

Definition of halibut

: any of several marine flatfishes (especially Hippoglossus hippoglossus of the Atlantic and H. stenolepis of the Pacific) that are widely used for food and include some of the largest bony fishes

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Did You Know?

Among the different kinds of fish found in the world’s oceans is a group called the flatfish. Flatfish are well named, for they have flattened bodies with both eyes on the upper side of the head. In Middle English the word for flatfish was butte. During the Middle Ages, fish was often eaten on holy days in place of meat. The most popular fish for the holy days was the largest variety of flatfish, or “butte.” Thus, this particular fish came to be called in Middle English halybutte, meaning literally “holy flatfish,” from haly, a form of holy, and butte. In modern English the spelling has been changed to halibut.

Examples of halibut in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Fish oil has been a staple of heart-healthy nutrition since the 1980s, when cardiologists began recommending their patients take fish oil or add fatty fish like salmon, halibut and trout to their diet. Bryony Gilbey, chicagotribune.com, "The health benefits of fish oil," 11 Apr. 2021 Baked Cod With Lemon, Garlic and Thyme by Sylvia Fountaine Ingredients: 1 to 1 ½ pounds cod — or sub black cod, halibut, sea bass, etc. Dana Holmes, CNN Underscored, "Tired of doing so many dishes? Try these delicious one-pot meals," 6 Apr. 2021 Sea Forager’s halibut, oysters and albacore tuna are fished or harvested sustainably, mostly from Bay Area fishermen. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, "Seafood as self care: My year of eating community-supported fish," 29 Mar. 2021 The regular dinner menu ($150) features crab cakes and filet mignon or pan-seared halibut. Audrey Eads, Dallas News, "Takeout for two: 50-plus D-FW restaurants offering Valentine’s Day specials," 4 Feb. 2021 Wild Alaskan sources salmon, cod, halibut, pollock and more from large and small Alaska providers, and the mix of frozen portions in three boxed options is dictated by supply. Anchorage Daily News, "Homer company evolves into a ‘digital fishmonger’ with expanding subscription seafood service," 16 Dec. 2020 Homer got the biggest chunk of the Pacific halibut landings at 18% (3 million pounds), followed by Dutch Harbor and Kodiak. Anchorage Daily News, "Privately funded study to examine role of regional magnetism in migration of Bristol Bay salmon," 12 Jan. 2021 The fish counter currently has local seafood like sablefish, petrale sole, rock fish and hook-and-line halibut, along with Maine lobsters. Tara Duggan, SFChronicle.com, "Noe Valley just got an ambitious new oyster bar and seafood counter, stocked with unique fish," 11 Dec. 2020 This outfit offers monthly subscription plans with choices of salmon, white fish (such as halibut and cod), or a combination. Eleanore Park, WSJ, "Online Seafood Buying Guide: Where the Chefs Shop," 10 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'halibut.' 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 halibut

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for halibut

Middle English halybutte, from haly, holy holy + butte flatfish, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German but; from its being eaten on holy days

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Time Traveler for halibut

Time Traveler

The first known use of halibut was in the 14th century

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Statistics for halibut

Last Updated

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Halibut.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/halibut. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for halibut



English Language Learners Definition of halibut

: a large fish of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that is often eaten as food


hal·​i·​but | \ ˈha-lə-bət How to pronounce halibut (audio) \
plural halibut or halibuts

Kids Definition of halibut

: a very large saltwater flatfish often used for food

More from Merriam-Webster on halibut

Nglish: Translation of halibut for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about halibut

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