• synonyms


[too-nuh, tyoo-]
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noun, plural (especially collectively) tu·na, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) tu·nas.
  1. any of several large food and game fishes of the family Scombridae, inhabiting temperate and tropical seas.Compare albacore, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna.
  2. any of various related fishes.
  3. Also called tuna fish. the flesh of the tuna, used as food.
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Origin of tuna1

1880–85, Americanism; < American Spanish, variant of Spanish atún < Arabic al the + tūn < Greek thýnnos tunny


[too-nuh, tyoo-]
  1. any of various prickly pears, especially either of two erect, treelike species, Opuntia tuna or O. ficus-indica, of Mexico, bearing a sweet, edible fruit.
  2. the fruit of these plants.
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Origin of tuna2

1545–55; < Spanish < Taino
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for tuna

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • A flock of gulls were circling low, perhaps over a school of tuna.

  • When I think of Sam I think of tuna—those torpedoes of the ocean.

  • We have tried to introduce principles of the Tuna Club of Avalon.

  • His tail was big like that of a tuna, and his head sharper, more wolfish than a barracuda.

  • Not only had I stopped the tuna, but soon I had him coming up, slowly yet rather easily.

British Dictionary definitions for tuna


noun plural -na or -nas
  1. Also called: tunny any of various large marine spiny-finned fishes of the genus Thunnus, esp T. thynnus, chiefly of warm waters: family Scombridae . They have a spindle-shaped body and widely forked tail, and are important food fishes
  2. any of various similar and related fishes
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Word Origin

C20: from American Spanish, from Spanish atún, from Arabic tūn, from Latin thunnus tunny, from Greek


  1. any of various tropical American prickly pear cacti, esp Opuntia tuna, that are cultivated for their sweet edible fruits
  2. the fruit of any of these cacti
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Word Origin

C16: via Spanish from Taino
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 tuna


1881, from American Spanish (California) tuna, from Spanish atun, from Arabic tun, from Latin thunnus "tunny" (see tunny).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper