- a large, powerful game fish, Megalops atlantica, inhabiting the warmer waters of the Atlantic Ocean, having a compressed body and large, silvery scales.
Origin of tarpon
1675–85; earlier tarpum, trapham, terbum, of uncertain origin; compare Dutch tarpoen; words in various Indian languages of Central America (Miskito tapam, Sumo tahpam, Rama tā́pum, Paya ta’pam) probably ultimately < English
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for tarpon
They are the Tarpon, the Falcon, the Sea Fox, and the Octopus.Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show
Robert W. Chambers
February 20, 2014
We fished together—for bluefish in the Long Island sound and for tarpon at Islamorada.Remembering Critic Robert Hughes: A Torrent of Brilliant Words
August 7, 2012
My empire was not won; my first tarpon was as if he had never been.
They looked like barracuda to me, only they were almost as silvery as a tarpon.
The rolling of the tarpon diminished, and finally ceased as noon advanced.
All at once the tarpon began to show, to splash, to play, to roll.
Obviously, then, this becomes true of tarpon and sailfish and small tuna.
- a large silvery clupeoid game fish, Tarpon atlanticus, of warm Atlantic waters, having a compressed body covered with large scales: family Elopidae
- Australian another name for ox-eye herring
- any similar related fish
C17: perhaps from Dutch tarpoen, of unknown origin
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
Word Origin and History for tarpon
large fish (Megalops atlanticus) of the herring family, 1680s, probably from a Native American word. Also called jew-fish.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper