Definition of minnow in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈmɪnəʊ/


1A small freshwater Eurasian fish of the carp family, which typically forms large shoals.
  • Phoxinus phoxinus, family Cyprinidae.
Example sentences
  • There are also rudd, bream, eels, gudgeon, crucian carp, tench, minnows, perch, sticklebacks, the odd trout, pike and barbel present.
  • The boys used a net to lift the fish from the mud and took it to their mum, a keen fish keeper who already owns guppies, minnows and a goldfish.
  • Other species caught included a handful of pike up to about five pounds in weight and a single chub, plus minnows and bullheads too numerous to count.
1.1Used in names of small freshwater fishes similar to the minnow, e.g. mudminnow, topminnow.
Example sentences
  • The central mudminnow – not a true minnow – was first recorded in Maine in 1999 from the Orono–Old Town area.
  • Although called a minnow, the topminnow is not really a minnow but belongs to the family Fundulidae.
1.2 Fishing An artificial lure imitating a minnow.
Example sentences
  • I always take a big selection of Sea-Ducers Bend backs, Clouser minnows and Lefty Kreh Deceivers in sizes from 1's through to 4/0's in various colour combinations.
  • All you need is a rod capable of casting a fast sinking eight or nine weight line fitted with a two foot leader of about 15 lb breaking strain and a selection of Clouser minnows in size 2's and 4's.
  • When chasing bass I would always want a few Clousers minnows in various colours especially chartreuse and white, some Lefty Kreh Deceivers, and a few sand eel patterns and poppers.
2A small or insignificant person or organization: the paper is a minnow in the national newspaper mass market
More example sentences
  • As a result, Bulldog has only attracted 80,000 users to its broadband and telephony service - a minnow in the broadband market.
  • They are the mighty minnows of the national league, a wee club with limited history and resources, but an indomitable instinct for survival.
  • The Afghan national army is a minnow alongside the 85,000 armed fighters in the ranks of regional warlords.


Late Middle English: probably related to Dutch meun and German Münne, influenced by Anglo-Norman French menu 'small, minnow'.

Words that rhyme with minnow


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: min¦now

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.