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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for kippered

Historical Examples

  • "Kippered or mouldy or pickled, I will smoke one of them on the day you return," said he.

    Up and Down

    Edward Frederic Benson

  • Bismarck herring, or kippered herring, acts in the same way.


    James J. Walsh

  • They had tea about six, and ate, each of them, a kippered herring and some watercress.

    None Other Gods

    Robert Hugh Benson

  • I don't grow old any more than you do inside, in spite of my raddled, kippered face, and bones sticking out like hat-pegs.

    Dodo Wonders

    E. F. Benson

  • He sat up to the table; he drank two cups of tea out of the chipped enamel mug, and then he set to work on his kippered herring.

    None Other Gods

    Robert Hugh Benson

British Dictionary definitions for kippered


  1. (of fish, esp herring) having been cleaned, salted, and smoked
  2. slang utterly defeated or outwitted


  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 kippered



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