- a species of herring, Clupea sprattus, of the eastern North Atlantic.
- a small or inconsequential person or thing.
Origin of sprat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for sprat
They 'swallowed the engagement as if it had been a sprat in the mouth of a whale.'Bunyan</p>
James Anthony Froude
"We will throw a sprat to catch a herring," quoted Momsey cheerfully.Nan Sherwood at Pine Camp
Annie Roe Carr
Theyre wondering who this sprat is that we are asked to swallow.The Bishop's Apron
W. Somerset Maugham
And yet it was not always easy for the sprat to catch the whale.The Press-Gang Afloat and Ashore
John R. Hutchinson
Butler, Sprat, and Martin Clifford are named as his coadjutors.The Age of Dryden
- a small marine food fish, Clupea sprattus, of the NE Atlantic Ocean and North Sea: family Clupeidae (herrings)See also brisling
- any of various small or young herrings
C16: variant of Old English sprott; related to Middle Low German sprott, Norwegian sprot small rod
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 sprat
"small European herring," 1590s, variant of sprot, from Old English sprot "a small herring," related to Dutch sprot, and probably connected to sprout.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper