min·now | \ˈmi-(ˌ)nō \
plural minnows also minnow

Definition of minnow 

1a : a small cyprinid, killifish, or topminnow

b : any of various small fish that are less than a designated size and are not game fish

2 : a live or artificial minnow used as bait

Examples of minnow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Mahrez has been one of the star players in English football since leaving French minnows AC Le Havre in 2014. SI.com, "Man City Reach Agreement in Principle With Leicester Talisman But Talks Stall Over Transfer Fee," 19 June 2018 Compared with China, where many companies have a market value greater than North Korea’s total gross domestic product, North Korea is a minnow swimming next to a whale. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un’s Low-Stakes Summit," 23 Apr. 2018 South Korea made an unexpected run to the semifinals as a co-host in 2002, and that noted minnow the United States reached its first round of 16 in 60 years in 1994. Chuck Culpepper, chicagotribune.com, "World Cup final will include one of these teams: England, Croatia, Sweden, Russia. Really.," 4 July 2018 Over the past two decades its chief executive, Michael O’Leary, turned the Irish minnow into Europe’s biggest carrier by copying the low-cost model of Southwest, an American budget airline. The Economist, "A Hungarian startup could beat Ryanair at its own low-cost game," 31 May 2018 Best colors of swimming minnows have been: pink & chartreuse, pearl and smoke/glitter. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star, kansascity, "Fishing report: Uneven weather makes for mixed results on the water | The Kansas City Star," 28 Mar. 2018 Adult pugnose minnows average two inches in length. Michigan Wildlife Council, Detroit Free Press, "Polishing a gem: Plan aims for St. Clair-Detroit River system improvements," 10 July 2018 Bait fishermen are casting spawn sacks, minnows, small lead-head jigs tipped with maggots or waxworms and small plastic lures. cleveland.com, "D'Arcy Egan fishing report for May 3: Walleye biting, steelhead hanging around," 3 May 2018 The scene was as old as time, the birds slowly picking their way through a tangle of aquatic plants, harvesting frogs, snails, minnows, anything that moves. Ben Raines, AL.com, "The hidden lake: a primordial secret found," 17 Apr. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for minnow

Middle English menawe; akin to Old English myne minnow, Old High German munewa, a kind of fish

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mino bird

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Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for minnow

The first known use of minnow was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for minnow



English Language Learners Definition of minnow

: a very small fish that is often used as bait to catch larger fish


min·now | \ˈmi-nō \

Kids Definition of minnow

1 : a small freshwater fish (as a shiner) related to the carp

2 : a fish that looks like a true minnow

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