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The young of various fishes, especially the herring, considered a delicacy when fried.
1. (Cookery) the young of herrings, sprats, etc, cooked and eaten whole as a delicacy
2. (Animals) any of various small silvery fishes, such as Galaxias attenuatus of Australia and New Zealand and Allosmerus elongatus of North American coastal regions of the Pacific
[C18: from its formerly having been used as bait]
n., pl. -bait.
1. a young sprat or herring.
2. a small delicate fish cooked whole without being cleaned.
[1750–60; so called from use as bait]
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|Noun||1.||whitebait - minnows or other small fresh- or saltwater fish (especially herring); usually cooked whole|
herring - valuable flesh of fatty fish from shallow waters of northern Atlantic or Pacific; usually salted or pickled
|2.||whitebait - the edible young of especially herrings and sprats and smelts|
young fish - a fish that is young