One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A northwestern Atlantic fish of the herring family that swims up rivers to spawn and is found also in the Great Lakes.
Alosa pseudoharengus, family Clupeidae
- ‘Larger salmon eat a variety of fishes such as herring and alewives, smelts, capelin, small mackerel, sand lace, and small cod.’
- ‘Our goal was to determine if seal numbers increase during the alewife and Atlantic salmon runs.’
- ‘Few land-locked alewives live longer than 5 years.’
- ‘Some of the species that live in the ocean but enter freshwater to spawn are sea lamprey, Atlantic sturgeon, alewife, Atlantic salmon, arctic char, and American eel.’
- ‘Harbor seals were found to congregate in the Saint John Harbour during the runs of alewife but not Atlantic salmon.’
- 1.1another term for menhaden
Mid 17th century: possibly from earlier alewife ‘woman who keeps an ale house’, with reference to the fish's large belly.
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