hal·i·but | \ˈha-lə-bət 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

Even those who make a living on fishing now pursue other species beyond salmon, like crab, shrimp and halibut. John Eligon, New York Times, "‘This Ruling Gives Us Hope’: Supreme Court Sides With Tribe in Salmon Case," 11 June 2018 For halibut, 47 percent of Alaska's 17-million-pound catch has been taken so far with less than 9 million pounds remaining. Laine Welch, Anchorage Daily News, "For Alaska sockeye salmon, record highs in Bristol Bay, record lows nearly everywhere else," 9 July 2018 But the unexpected halibut kebabs were also amazing. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "Fishtown's Suraya is one of the most exciting new dining destinations of the year," 22 June 2018 Southall says the weather forecast looks favorable for the commercial boats to head out and haul in the first fresh halibut in months. Steve Edwards, Anchorage Daily News, "Easter treats are hopping to a farmers market near you," 21 Mar. 2018 This week in Florida, for example, Prime members can get $2 off a pound of organic strawberries or save $10 a pound on wild halibut steaks. BostonGlobe.com, "Investors dump GE shares," 17 May 2018 This week in Florida, for example, Prime members can get $2 off a pound of organic strawberries or save $10 a pound on wild halibut steaks. Joseph Pisani, chicagotribune.com, "Amazon to give Prime members extra discounts at Whole Foods," 16 May 2018 Holiday specials include Dungeness crab salad with beet purée, avocado, Beluga lentils and crème fraîche; and Alaskan halibut and clams with fingerlings, fava beans and chorizo. Julie Giuffrida, latimes.com, "Where to take mom for Mother's Day brunch," 3 May 2018 Over Memorial Day weekend, a Washington state man caught a roughly 7-foot halibut in the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the northwestern part of the state. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Washington man catches nearly 7-foot halibut: 'It was bigger than a folding table'," 6 June 2018

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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Statistics for halibut

Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for halibut

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

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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 \
plural halibut or halibuts

Kids Definition of halibut

: a very large saltwater flatfish often used for food

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More from Merriam-Webster on halibut

Spanish Central: Translation of halibut

Nglish: Translation of halibut for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about halibut

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