- any of various, usually small, freshwater cyprinoid fishes used commonly as bait
- any very small fish
Origin of minnowMiddle English menow ; from or akin to Old English myne, akin to Old High German muniwa, probably ; from Indo-European base an unverified form meni-, a kind of fish
nounpl. minnow minnow or min·nows
- Any of a large group of small freshwater fishes of the family Cyprinidae, widely used as live bait.
- Any of various other small, often silver-colored fishes.
Origin of minnowMiddle English meneu; see men-4 in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present minnows, present participle minnowing, simple past and past participle minnowed)
- (fishing) to fish minnows
- (fishing) to fish (especially trout) using a minnow as bait
From Middle English menow, from Old English *mynwe, oblique form of *mynu, unattested variant of Old English myne (“minnow, small fish"), from Proto-Germanic *muniwÅ (“minnow"), from Proto-Indo-European *men- (“small"). Cognate with Middle Low German mone, mÃ¶ne (West Frisian meun, Dutch meun), Old High German muniwa, munuwa, munewa (German MÃ¼nne (“minnow")).