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[tahr-puh n] /ˈtɑr pən/
noun, plural tarpons (especially collectively) tarpon.
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for tarpon
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Dick was now out for tarpon, and paid no attention to smaller fish, many of which came within striking distance.

    Dick in the Everglades A. W. Dimock
  • All at once the tarpon began to show, to splash, to play, to roll.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • I think very few things can equal the keen excitement of playing a tarpon.

  • The rolling of the tarpon diminished, and finally ceased as noon advanced.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • He next opened up his valise and got out the ammunition he had purchased in tarpon and a small, but excellent pocket compass.

  • They looked like barracuda to me, only they were almost as silvery as a tarpon.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • We will make them get up anchor and sails and head back for tarpon.

  • Obviously, then, this becomes true of tarpon and sailfish and small tuna.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
British Dictionary definitions for tarpon


noun (pl) -pons, -pon
a large silvery clupeoid game fish, Tarpon atlanticus, of warm Atlantic waters, having a compressed body covered with large scales: family Elopidae
(Austral) another name for ox-eye herring
any similar related fish
Word Origin
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
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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
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