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noun (1)

plural tuna or tunas
: any of various large vigorous scombroid fishes (as of the genera Euthynnus, Katsuwonus, and especially Thunnus) that are usually dark above and silvery below and include many that are valued as food or sport fishes see albacore, bigeye tuna, bluefin tuna, dogtooth tuna, little tunny, skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna
: the flesh of a tuna used for food
grilled tuna
specifically, sometimes tuna fish : tuna flesh that has been cooked and canned
often used before another noun
tuna salad
a tuna fish sandwich


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noun (2)

tu·​na ˈtü-nə How to pronounce tuna (audio)
: any of various flat-jointed prickly pears (genus Opuntia)
especially : one (O. tuna) of tropical America
: the edible fruit of a tuna

Examples of tuna in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Pinky’s Uptown Tuna Melt comes with albacore tuna salad that includes mayo, wasabi and ginger, plus Swiss and American cheese on Texas toast. Heidi Finley, Charlotte Observer, 13 Feb. 2024 For breakfast and lunch, Café Umi offers a wealth of local dishes, such as a vivid array of fresh fruits, yoghurts and pastries for breakfasts and Maldivian tuna curry and hoppers for lunch. Angelina Villa-Clarke, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 Favorite dishes include veal tricolore and grilled tuna. Miami Herald Archives, Miami Herald, 8 Feb. 2024 The sample menu includes oysters on the half shell with chimichurri sauce, spicy salad rolls stuffed with spicy tuna and shaved raw beef marinated in lime and herbs. Brianna Taylor, Sacramento Bee, 28 Jan. 2024 Kraft Singles is launching three new flavors this month to spice up our burgers and add more excitement to our tuna melts. Brandee Gruener, Southern Living, 20 Jan. 2024 Other favorites are the salmon and the Brookside Special (which includes chicken teriyaki, tempura, four pieces of nigiri and three pieces of the tuna maki roll). Katie Moore, Kansas City Star, 19 Jan. 2024 Tuna in pouches, tuna in single-serve poptops – more forms of tuna than our mothers ever imagined. Kathleen Purvis, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 As the trickle of aid has increased, more food products, such as canned meat, tuna and cheese, have become available. Loay Ayyoub, Washington Post, 25 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History


Noun (1)

American Spanish, alteration of Spanish atún, modification of Arabic tūn, from Latin thunnus, from Greek thynnos

Noun (2)

Spanish, from Taino

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1881, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

circa 1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tuna was circa 1555

Dictionary Entries Near tuna

Cite this Entry

“Tuna.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tuna. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


plural tuna or tunas
: any of several mostly large sea fishes (as an albacore or bonito) related to the mackerels and caught for food and sport
: the flesh of a tuna especially when canned for use as food

called also tuna fish

More from Merriam-Webster on tuna

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