minnow

/min"oh/, n., pl. (esp. referring to two or more kinds or species) minnows, (esp. collectively, Rare) minnow for 1, 2, 3.
1. a small, European cyprinoid fish, Phoxinus phoxinus.
2. any other fish of the family Cyprinidae, including the carps, goldfishes, and daces.
3. any of various unrelated, small fishes.
4. a person or thing that is comparatively small or insignificant.
[1325-75; ME minwe, OE *mynwe (fem.) for myne (masc.); c. OHG munewa kind of fish]

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Small fishes, especially of the carp family (Cyprinidae), as well as some rockfish (family Umbridae) and killifishes (family Cyprinodontidae).

The numerous species of North American cyprinid minnows are freshwater fishes, 2.4–12 in. (6–30 cm) long. Many are valuable as food for fishes, birds, and other animals and as live bait. The bluntnose (Pimephales notatus) and fathead (P. promelas) minnows, the common shiner, and the American roach are good bait species. The term also refers to the young of many large fish species. The minnow of Europe and northern Asia (Phoxinus phoxinus) is about 3 in. (7.5 cm) long and varies from golden to green.

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fish
      in North America, any of various small fishes, especially those of the carp family, Cyprinidae. The name minnow is also applied to mud minnows (family Umbridae (mudminnow)), killifishes (Cyprinodontidae), and, in a general way, the young of many large fishes. For topminnows, see live-bearer.

 The North American cyprinid minnows comprise numerous species of small, freshwater fishes that are known by such names as shiner (genera Notemigonus and Notropis [see photograph—>]) and bluntnose and fathead minnow (Pimephales). Many are abundant, and a number are valuable as live bait; sometimes they are cultured for this purpose. One good bait species is the bluntnose minnow (P. notatus), an olive-coloured species up to 10 cm (4 inches) long. Others include the 6-centimetre fathead minnow (P. promelas) and the common shiner (Notropis cornutus), a blue and silver minnow up to 20 cm long. The golden shiner, or American roach (Notemigonus cryseleucas), a larger, greenish and golden minnow attaining a length of 30 cm and a weight of 0.7 kg (1.5 pounds), is both edible and valuable as bait.

      The minnow of Europe and northern Asia is Phoxinus phoxinus, a slim, small-scaled fish typical of clean streams and rivers. Also a member of the carp family, it is usually about 7.5 cm long. It varies in colour from golden to green, and the male, like certain other male cyprinids, develops a bright red underside during the spring breeding season. This minnow, like many others, is a valuable source of food for fishes, birds, and other animals.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:
, (Leuciscus phoxinus)


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