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[pil-cherd] /ˈpɪl tʃərd/
a small, southern European, marine fish, Sardina pilchardus, related to the herring but smaller and rounder.
any of several related fishes, as Sardinops caeruleus, common off the California coast.
Origin of pilchard
First recorded in 1520-30; earlier pilcher; origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pilchard
Historical Examples
  • She was building for the pilchard season and was to be ready for the middle of June.

    A Singer from the Sea Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • “I never saw a pilchard,” said Arthur, suddenly beginning to dress.

    Menhardoc George Manville Fenn
  • Most of the inhabitants are engaged in the pilchard and herring fishery.

  • pilchard and Swan had stopped to rest in the middle of the plaza.

  • pilchard saw instantly that he must have Swan to do the work.

  • But had he a right to take advantage of pilchard's generosity?

  • "Had a letter from the company today," pilchard observed, suddenly.

  • See here, pilchard, it's time we came to some understanding.

  • He was greatly astonished when pilchard showed him that the last day's work had been done.

  • pilchard brought out that ever-ready smile that was so delightful.

British Dictionary definitions for pilchard


a European food fish, Sardina (or Clupea) pilchardus, with a rounded body covered with large scales: family Clupeidae (herrings)
a related fish, Sardinops neopilchardus, of S Australian waters
Word Origin
C16: pylcher, of obscure origin
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
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Word Origin and History for pilchard

fish of the herring family, 1540s, earlier pilcher (1520s), of unknown origin. The -d- is "excrescent" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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