Definition of minnow in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈminō/


1A small freshwater Eurasian cyprinoid fish that 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.
1.1Any fish of the family Cyprinidae, the largest family of fishes, which includes carps, shiners, spinefins, squawfishes, chubs, daces, and stonerollers.
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.
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.
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.
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

Syllabification: min·now

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