mackerel

[mak-er-uh l, mak-ruh l]
noun, plural (especially collectively) mack·er·el, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) mack·er·els.
  1. a food fish, Scomber scombrus, of the North Atlantic, having wavy cross markings on the back.
  2. Spanish mackerel.
  3. any of various similar fishes, as the Atka mackerel.

Origin of mackerel

1250–1300; Middle English < Old French, perhaps same word as Middle French maquerel pimp < Middle Dutch makelare broker (by metathesis), equivalent to makel(en) to bring together + -are -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mackerel

Historical Examples of mackerel

  • Grease a baking-tin, and lay one of the mackerel, skin downwards, on it.

    The Skilful Cook

    Mary Harrison

  • Say, John, couldn't you subpoena a school of mackerel for me?

    Thankful's Inheritance

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • The piece de resistance of the dinner was, in this instance, to be a mackerel.

    Shavings

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Oh, I hope there wan't any bones in that mackerel Heman's cat got away with.

    Shavings

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • If you'd told him he'd been swallowed by a mackerel he wouldn't have said no.

    Mary-'Gusta

    Joseph C. Lincoln


British Dictionary definitions for mackerel

mackerel

noun plural -rel or -rels
  1. a spiny-finned food fish, Scomber scombrus, occurring in northern coastal regions of the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean: family Scombridae. It has a deeply forked tail and a greenish-blue body marked with wavy dark bands on the backCompare Spanish mackerel (def. 1)
  2. any of various other fishes of the family Scombridae, such as Scomber colias (Spanish mackerel) and S. japonicus (Pacific mackerel)

Word Origin for mackerel

C13: from Anglo-French, from Old French maquerel, of unknown 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

Word Origin and History for mackerel
n.

edible fish, c.1300, from Old French maquerel "mackerel" (Modern French maquereau), of unknown origin but apparently identical with Old French maquerel "pimp, procurer, broker, agent, intermediary," a word from a Germanic source (cf. Middle Dutch makelaer "broker," from Old Frisian mek "marriage," from maken "to make"). The connection is obscure, but medieval people had imaginative notions about the erotic habits of beasts. The fish approach the shore in shoals in summertime to spawn. Exclamation holy mackerel is attested from 1876.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper