Menhaden, also known as mossbunker, and bunker, are forage fish of the genera Brevoortia and Ethmidium, two genera of marine fish in the family Clupeidae. Menhaden is a blend of poghaden (pogy for short) and an Algonquian word akin to Narragansettmunnawhatteaûg, derived from munnohquohteau ‘he fertilizes’, referring to their use of the fish use as fertilizer. It is generally thought that Pilgrims were advised by Tisquantum (also known as Squanto) to plant menhaden with their crops.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
kind of herring, 1792, from Algonquian (probably Narragansett) munnawhateaug (noted from 1643), literally "they fertilize," because the abundant little fishes were used by the Indians as fertilizer.
n. Any of several species of fish in the genus (taxlink Brevoortia genus noshow=1) and (taxlink Ethmidium genus noshow=1), used for fish meal, fish oil, fertilizer, and bait.
n. shad-like North American marine fishes used for fish meal and oil and fertilizer [syn: Brevoortia tyrannis]
Usage examples of "menhaden".
The smell of fish, and particularly the unlovely odor of menhaden, was a heavy presence in the still air.
The ridiculously low total would make more than one land speculator moan, curse and cry in his beer, for along with the abandoned rendering plant went fifty acres of land bordering the Intracoastal Waterway, a sturdy pier built to hold a hundred and fifty foot pogy boat in winds up to near hurricane force, three large buildings, two small houses, assorted boilers and pipes and other odds and ends of rusting machinery, a loft filled with rotting nets and bags of used net floats, three beached purse boats with gasoline motors still mounted and usable after overhaul and six huge storage tanks which had been erected to store the rendered menhaden oil pending shipment to fertilizer and pet food plants further inland.