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[shad] /ʃæd/
noun, plural (especially collectively) shad (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) shads.
a deep-bodied herring, Alosa sapidissima, of Europe and North America, that migrates up streams to spawn, used for food.
any other fish of the genus Alosa or related genera.
any of several unrelated fishes.
Origin of shad
before 1050; Old English sceadd (not recorded in ME) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for shad
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had only been stunned by shad's blow—a part of the force of which he had caught on his arm.

    The Vagrant Duke George Gibbs
  • This harbor has a valuable fishery for Salmon, Herring, and shad.

  • He was "the last run of shad," to use the phrase of Theodore Parker, who had a similar honor.

  • The shad are rapidly decreasing all along the Atlantic Coast.

    Conservation Reader Harold W. Fairbanks
  • shad pointed with his long arm in the general direction of Heaven.

    The Vagrant Duke George Gibbs
  • Captain shad, after informing them that he would be aboard in a jiffy, drove on to the barn.

    Mary-'Gusta Joseph C. Lincoln
  • The shad is found in the Severn and Thames in considerable quantities about the second week in July.

    The Ocean World: Louis Figuier
  • Captain shad's epistle was more worldly but not more coherent.

    Mary-'Gusta Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Salmon, bluefish, halibut and shad are very palatable baked in cream.

British Dictionary definitions for shad


noun (pl) shad, shads
any of various herring-like food fishes of the genus Alosa and related genera, such as A. alosa (allis shad) of Europe, that migrate from the sea to freshwater to spawn: family Clupeidae (herrings)
any of various similar but unrelated fishes
Word Origin
Old English sceadd; related to Norwegian skadd, German Schade shad, Old Irish scatān herring, Latin scatēre to well up
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shad

Old English sceadd "shad," important food fish in the Atlantic, possibly from Scandinavian (cf. Norwegian dialectal skadd "small whitefish"); but cf. Welsh ysgadan (plural), Irish and Gaelic sgadan "herring." OED says Low German schade may be from English.

Its importance suggested by its use in forming the common names of U.S. East Coast plants and wildlife whose active period coincides with the running of the shad up rivers, e.g. shad-bird, shad-bush, shad-flower, shad-fly, shad-frog. From the shape of the fish comes shad-bellied, 1832 in reference to persons, "having little abdominal protuberance;" of coats (1842) "sloping apart in front, cut away," especially in reference to the characteristic garb of male Quakers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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