- any marine clupeid fish of the genus Brevoortia, especially B. tyrannus, resembling a shad but with a more compressed body, common along the eastern coast of the U.S., and used for making oil and fertilizer.
Origin of menhaden
1635–45, Americanism; perhaps < Narragansett (E spelling) munnawhatteaûg, influenced by E dial. poghaden; cf. pogy1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for menhaden
Capt. Benjamin Ashby says that they feed on mackerel, herring, whiting, and menhaden.
I have already discussed this question at length with reference to the menhaden and mackerel.
Cascading thousands of menhaden crushed him violently to the floor.Smugglers' Reef
Whale and shark liver, or menhaden oils are often used abroad.Leather
K. J. Adcock
In all the adjacent waters vast numbers of menhaden are caught.America, Volume III (of 6)
- a marine North American fish, Brevoortia tyrannus: source of fishmeal, fertilizer, and oil: family Clupeidae (herrings, etc)
C18: from Algonquian; probably related to Narragansett munnawhatteaúg fertilizer, menhaden
Word Origin and History for menhaden
kind of herring, 1792, from Algonquian (probably Narragansett) munnawhateaug (noted from 1643), literally "they fertilize," because the abundant little fishes were used by the Indians as fertilizer.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper