plural shad
: any of several fishes (especially genus Alosa) of the herring family that differ from the typical herrings (genus Clupeus) in having a relatively deep body and in being anadromous and that include some important food fishes of Europe and North America

Examples of shad in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While some anglers swear by chicken thighs, baitfish like shad, herring, and bream, are more popular. Pete M. Anderson, Field & Stream, 28 Sep. 2023 The agency’s post also warned anglers that juvenile silver carp look a lot like gizzard shad, which are commonly used as bait when fishing for bass and other game fish. Outdoor Life, 7 Sep. 2023 The Council got back to work and a bill amending an act regulating the shad and alewife fisheries was passed that day, Philips wrote. Martin Finucane,, 23 Aug. 2023 Not a scale missing, its’ sleek, silvery appearance was similar to that of a big shad rather than an overgrown minnow. Jim Gronaw, Baltimore Sun, 13 Aug. 2023 Earlier coverage: School official shad warned Vigna of getting too close to students. Nicole Asbury, Washington Post, 23 July 2023 Every half hour or so, schools of small bass chased schools of shad to the surface. Bryan Hendricks, Arkansas Online, 23 July 2023 For American shad, blue catfish or channel catfish, the consumption recommendation is one meal annually for women of childbearing age and children and seven meals for other adults. Julia Musto, Fox News, 14 July 2023 Despite its succulent taste, the shad is a dish that is notoriously dangerous if not boned by an expert. Frederick N. Rasmussen, Baltimore Sun, 4 Apr. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English *shad, from Old English sceadd

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shad was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near shad

Cite this Entry

“Shad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural shad
: any of several sea fishes that are related to the herrings, swim up rivers to lay or fertilize eggs, and include important food fishes

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