Definition of grunion in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡrənyən/


A small, slender Californian fish that swarms onto beaches at night to spawn. The eggs are buried in the sand, and the young fish are swept out to sea on the following spring tide.
  • Leuresthes tenuis, family Atherinidae.
Example sentences
  • Barracuda eat squid and small fish such as sardines, anchovies, young mackerels and grunions.
  • This could also affect fish like the grunion, which spawn according to tidal changes.
  • A similar set of tradeoffs may explain why surf smelt, which spawn in fine gravel, can spawn successfully lower in the intertidal zone than grunion, spawning in sand.


Early 20th century: probably from Spanish gruñón 'grunter'.

Words that rhyme with grunion

bunion, Bunyan, onion, Runyon

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: grun·ion

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