noun, plural an·cho·vies.
- any small, marine, herringlike fish of the family Engraulidae, especially Engraulis encrasicholus, found in the Mediterranean Sea, often preserved in oil and used in salads, spreads, etc., or packaged in paste form.
noun plural -vies or -vy
- any of various small marine food fishes of the genus Engraulis and related genera, esp E. encrasicolus of S Europe: family Clupeidae (herrings). They have a salty taste and are often tinned or made into a paste or essence
1590s, from Portuguese anchova, from Genoese or Corsican dialect, perhaps ultimately from either Latin apua “small fish” (from Greek aphye “small fry”) [Gamillscheg, Diez], or from Basque anchu “dried fish,” from anchuva “dry” [Klein, citing Mahn].