noun, plural men·ha·den.
- any marine clupeid fish of the genus Brevoortia, especially B. tyrannus, resembling a shad but with a more compressed body, common along the eastern coast of the U.S., and used for making oil and fertilizer.
noun plural -den
- a marine North American fish, Brevoortia tyrannus: source of fishmeal, fertilizer, and oil: family Clupeidae (herrings, etc)
n.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.