men·​ha·​den men-ˈhā-dᵊn How to pronounce menhaden (audio)
plural menhaden also menhadens
: a marine fish (Brevoortia tyrannus) of the herring family abundant along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. where it is used for bait or converted into oil and fertilizer
also : any of several congeneric fishes

Examples of menhaden in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This happens when casting a heavy sinker and large bait like a whole mullet or menhaden head. Joe Cermele, Field & Stream, 26 Oct. 2023 Local residents counted more than 300 dead redfish among the hundreds of thousands of dead menhaden lining the shore. Outdoor Life, 21 Sep. 2023 Both companies are big players in the Gulf’s menhaden netting industry, which represents the largest segment—in terms of sheer poundage—of the region’s larger commercial fishery. Outdoor Life, 21 Sep. 2023 Many of the ospreys are coming in starving, a result, Suzanne believes, of the menhaden fishery in the Potomac and Chesapeake being overfished. John Kelly, Washington Post, 8 Aug. 2023 In 2013, 15 East Coast states began limiting catches of menhaden, a major food source for sharks. The Week Staff, The Week, 19 Aug. 2023 The face almost looks like a menhaden or a herring or something like that. Travis Hall, Field & Stream, 17 Aug. 2023 Most of the fish that washed ashore were Gulf menhaden, officials said. Lana Ferguson The Dallas Morning News (tns), al, 13 June 2023 Tens of thousands of dead fish — menhaden, sharks, trout, bass, catfish and stingrays — were covering the shore. Kyle Melnick, Washington Post, 13 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'menhaden.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


of Algonquian origin; akin to Narragansett munnawhatteaûg menhaden

First Known Use

1765, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of menhaden was in 1765

Dictionary Entries Near menhaden

Cite this Entry

“Menhaden.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


men·​ha·​den men-ˈhād-ᵊn How to pronounce menhaden (audio)
plural menhaden also menhadens
: a fish of the Atlantic coast of the U.S. that is related to the herring and is a source of oil and fertilizer

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