[ tahr-puh n ]
/ ˈtɑr pən /

noun, plural tar·pons, (especially collectively) tar·pon.

a large, powerful game fish, Megalops atlantica, inhabiting the warmer waters of the Atlantic Ocean, having a compressed body and large, silvery scales.

Nearby words

  1. tarpaper,
  2. tarpaulin,
  3. tarpeia,
  4. tarpeian rock,
  5. tarpit,
  6. tarpon springs,
  7. tarquin,
  8. tarquinii,
  9. tarquinius,
  10. tarradiddle

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for tarpon

British Dictionary definitions for tarpon


/ (ˈtɑːpən) /

noun plural -pons or -pon

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

Word Origin for tarpon

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