Definition of alewife in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈeɪlwʌɪf/

noun (plural alewives)

A NW Atlantic fish of the herring family, which swims up rivers to spawn.
  • Alosa pseudoharengus, family Clupeidae
Example sentences
  • Larger salmon eat a variety of fishes such as herring and alewives, smelts, capelin, small mackerel, sand lace, and small cod.
  • Our goal was to determine if seal numbers increase during the alewife and Atlantic salmon runs.
  • Some of the species that live in the ocean but enter freshwater to spawn are sea lamprey, Atlantic sturgeon, alewife, Atlantic salmon, arctic char, and American eel.


Mid 17th century: possibly from earlier alewife 'woman who keeps an ale house', with reference to the fish's large belly.

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