[ hal-uh-buh t, hol- ]
/ ˈhæl ə bət, ˈhɒl- /

noun, plural (especially collectively) hal·i·but, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) hal·i·buts.

either of two large flatfishes, Hippoglossus hippoglossus, of the North Atlantic, or H. stenolepis, of the North Pacific, used for food.
any of various other similar flatfishes.
Also holibut.

Origin of halibut

1350–1400; Middle English halybutte, equivalent to haly (variant of holy) + butte flat fish (< MD); so called because eaten on holy days. Compare Dutch heilbot, German Heilbutt
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for halibut

British Dictionary definitions for halibut


holibut (ˈhɒlɪbət)

/ (ˈhælɪbət) /

noun plural -buts or -but

the largest flatfish: a dark green North Atlantic species, Hippoglossus hippoglossus, that is a very important food fish: family Pleuronectidae
any of several similar and related flatfishes, such as Reinhardtius hippoglossoides (Greenland halibut)

Word Origin for halibut

C15: from hali holy (because it was eaten on holy days) + butte flat fish, from Middle Dutch butte
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 halibut



large flatfish, early 15c., perhaps from hali "holy" (see holy) + butte "flatfish;" supposedly so called from its being eaten on holy days (cf. cognate Dutch heilbot, Low German heilbutt, Swedish helgeflundra, Danish helleflynder). For second element see butt (n.4).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper