- to gut or clean (fish).
- to catch (fish) by the gills in a gill net.
- green/white around the gills, somewhat pale, as from being sickly, nervous, or frightened: When he heard how much the bill was, he looked a little green around the gills.
- to the gills, Informal. fully; completely; totally: After that big meal we were all stuffed to the gills.
Origin of gill1
- (Arthur) Eric (Rowton). 1882–1940, British sculptor, engraver, and typographer: his sculptures include the Stations of the Cross in Westminster Cathedral, London
- the respiratory organ in many aquatic animals, consisting of a membrane or outgrowth well supplied with blood vessels. External gills occur in tadpoles, some molluscs, etc; internal gills, within gill slits, occur in most fishesRelated adjective: branchial
- any of the radiating leaflike spore-producing structures on the undersurface of the cap of a mushroom
- to catch (fish) or (of fish) to be caught in a gill net
- (tr) to gut (fish)
- a unit of liquid measure equal to one quarter of a pint
- Northern English dialect half a pint, esp of beer
- a narrow stream; rivulet
- a wooded ravine
- (capital when part of place name) a deep natural hole in rock; potholeGaping Gill
- archaic a girl or sweetheart
- dialect a female ferretAlso spelt: jill
- an archaic or dialect name for ground ivy
Word Origin and History for to the gills
"organ of breathing in fishes," early 14c., of unknown origin, perhaps from a Scandinavian source, e.g. Old Norse giolnar which perhaps means "gills;" Old Danish -gæln (in fiske-gæln "fish gill"). Related: Gills.
liquid measure (commonly a half-pint), late 13c., from Old French gille, a wine measure, and directly from Medieval Latin gillo "earthenware jar," of uncertain origin.
fem. proper name, see Jill.
- The organ that enables most aquatic animals to take dissolved oxygen from the water. It consists of a series of membranes that have many small blood vessels. Oxygen passes into the bloodstream and carbon dioxide passes out of it as water flows across the membranes.
- One of the thin strips of tissue on the underside of the cap of many species of basidiomycete fungi. Gills produce the spore-bearing structures known as basidia.