Definition of minnow in English:


Syllabification: min·now
Pronunciation: /ˈminō


  • 1A small freshwater Eurasian cyprinoid fish that typically forms large shoals.
    • Phoxinus phoxinus, family Cyprinidae
    More 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.
  • 1.1Any fish of the family Cyprinidae, the largest family of fishes, which includes carps, shiners, spinefins, squawfishes, chubs, daces, and stonerollers.
    More example sentences
    • Another environmentalist land grab is underway in six states to protect the Topeka shiner, a minnow.
    • The ‘slab’ crappie that grabs a shiner minnow or small jig requires only a soft lift of a limber tip to set the thin-wire hook.
    • And it's the last stronghold for 25 native fish species, including the rare shovelnose sturgeon, the sturgeon chub and the western silvery minnow.
  • 1.2Used in names of similar small freshwater fishes, e.g., mudminnow, topminnow.
    More 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.
  • 1.3 Fishing An artificial lure imitating a minnow.
    More 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 person or organization of relatively small size, power, or influence.
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    • 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'.

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Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody