[ her-ing ]

noun,plural (especially collectively) her·ring, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) her·rings.
  1. an important food fish, Clupea harengus harengus, found in enormous shoals in the North Atlantic.

  2. a similar fish, Clupea harengus pallasii, of the North Pacific.

  1. any fish of the family Clupeidae, including herrings, shads, and sardines.

  2. any of various fishes resembling the herring but of unrelated families.

Origin of herring

before 900; Middle English hering,Old English hǣring; cognate with German Häring

Other words from herring

  • her·ring·like, adjective

Words Nearby herring

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use herring in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for herring


/ (ˈhɛrɪŋ) /

nounplural -rings or -ring
  1. any marine soft-finned teleost fish of the family Clupeidae, esp Clupea harengus, an important food fish of northern seas, having an elongated body covered, except in the head region, with large fragile silvery scales

Origin of herring

Old English hǣring; related to Old High German hāring, Old Frisian hēring, Dutch haring

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with herring


see dead as a doornail (herring); red herring.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.