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line drawing of a common European anchovy
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From Spanish anchoa, from Genoese Ligurian anciôa or related Corsican anchjuva, anciua. The term's ultimate origin is unclear; some suggest it may have derived from an unattested Vulgar Latin term *apiuva, from Latin aphyē, apua, from Ancient Greek ἀφύη (aphúē) (which may be formed like Sanskrit अभ्व (ábhva-, monster));[1] others suggest it comes from Basque antxu, anchu (dried fish), from anchuva (dry),[2] if that Basque term is not itself derived from Latin via some intermediary.[3]


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈæn.t͡ʃə.vi/, /ˈæn.t͡ʃəʊ.vi/, /ænˈt͡ʃəʊ.vi/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈænt͡ʃoʊ.vi/
    • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -əʊvi



anchovy (plural anchovies)

  1. Any small saltwater fish of the Engraulidae family, consisting of 160 species in 16 genera, of which the genus Engraulis is widely sold as food.
    Hypernym: fish
    Coordinate term: sardine

Derived terms





  1. ^ Michael Meier-Brügger, “Griechisch ἀφύη ‘Bratfischchen’, ved. ábhva- ‘Unding’, myk. a-phu-”, Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft 52 (1991): 123–5.
  2. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “anchovy”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  3. ^ Robert Lawrence Trask, The History of Basque