sar·​dine sär-ˈdēn How to pronounce sardine (audio)
plural sardines also sardine
: any of several small or immature fishes of the herring family
especially : the European pilchard (Sardina pilchardus) especially when young and of a size suitable for preserving for food
: any of various small fishes (such as an anchovy) resembling the true sardines or similarly preserved for food

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web And it’s not a TikTok sardine-throwing challenge, as one San Franciscan assumes in a Reddit post from earlier this month. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 29 June 2022 Their teeny hotel room, shared with five friends, was preposterously cramped, and Slate began to complain about the sardine-like conditions in a small, squeaky voice. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 27 June 2022 Some early theories are that the birds are being hurt by overfishing in the Pacific Ocean, but rescue operators have been assured by state agencies that local sardine and anchovy populations are not scarce. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 19 May 2022 Schrader draws them together by staging a right-wing hotel-expo encounter between Tell and his former overseer at Abu Ghraib, Major John Gordo, played by Willem Dafoe as a skeevy opportunist with a mustache like a giant sardine. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 2 Sep. 2021 François was hooked on aquatics after a childhood encounter with a sardine in a tide pool., 12 Aug. 2021 Who likes being trapped in a sardine can with hundreds of other passengers, lifted some 30,000 feet above sea level? Richard Galant, CNN, 8 Aug. 2021 Before the pandemic, New Yorkers wore the sacrifice of being packed like a sardine in a rush-hour train as a badge of honor. Stephanie Cain, Fortune, 8 May 2021 The idea is to tease the roosters into a feeding frenzy and then cast a sardine with a hook in its head into the carnage. Nate Matthews, Field & Stream, 7 Dec. 2020 See More

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

Word History


Middle English sardeine, from Anglo-French, from Latin sardina

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sardine was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near sardine

Cite this Entry

“Sardine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



sar·​dine sär-ˈdēn How to pronounce sardine (audio)
plural sardines also sardine
: any of various young or very small fish often preserved in oil for food

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