[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. pilate, pontius,
  2. pilates,
  3. pilatus,
  4. pilau,
  5. pilch,
  6. pilcomayo,
  7. pilcrow,
  8. pile,
  9. pile cap,
  10. pile driver

Origin of pilchard

First recorded in 1520–30; earlier pilcher; origin uncertain

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pilchard

British Dictionary definitions for pilchard


/ (ˈpɪltʃəd) /


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 for pilchard

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

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