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  1. a fish, especially a herring, that has been cured by splitting, salting, drying, and smoking.
  2. this method of curing fish.
  3. a male salmon during or after the spawning season.
verb (used with object)
  1. to cure (herring, salmon, etc.) by splitting, salting, drying and smoking.

Origin of kipper1

before 1000; Middle English kypre, Old English cypera spawning salmon, apparently derivative of cyperen of copper, i.e., copper-colored


noun Australian Informal.
  1. a young male Aborigine, usually 14 to 16 years old, who has recently undergone his tribal initiation rite.

Origin of kipper2

First recorded in 1835–45, kipper is from the Wiradjuri word gibirr man
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for kipper


  1. a fish, esp a herring, that has been cleaned, salted, and smoked
  2. a male salmon during the spawning season
  3. Australian archaic, derogatory, slang an Englishman
  1. (tr) to cure (a fish, esp a herring) by salting and smoking

Word Origin

Old English cypera, perhaps from coper copper 1; referring to its colour


  1. a native Australian youth who has completed an initiation rite

Word Origin

from a native Australian language


  1. informal an adult who cannot afford to move away from his or her parents' home

Word Origin

C21: from k (ids) i (n) p (arents') p (ockets) e (roding) r (etirement) (savings)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for kipper


Old English cypera "male salmon," perhaps related to coper "reddish-brown metal" (see copper), on resemblance of color. Another theory connects it to kip, name for the sharp, hooked lower jaw of the male salmon in breeding season, from Middle English kippen "to snatch, tug, pull." The modern word usually refers to kippered herring, from a verb meaning "to cure a fish by cleaning, salting, and spicing it" (early 14c.). The theory is that this originally was done to salmon, hence the name.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper