green around the gills


  1. the respiratory organ of aquatic animals, as fish, that breathe oxygen dissolved in water.
  2. Also called lamella. one of the radiating vertical plates on the underside of the cap of an agaric mushroom.
  3. ground ivy.

verb (used with object)

  1. to gut or clean (fish).
  1. to catch (fish) by the gills in a gill net.
  2. 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.
  3. to the gills, Informal. fully; completely; totally: After that big meal we were all stuffed to the gills.


  1. (Arthur) Eric (Rowton). 1882–1940, British sculptor, engraver, and typographer: his sculptures include the Stations of the Cross in Westminster Cathedral, London


  1. 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
  2. any of the radiating leaflike spore-producing structures on the undersurface of the cap of a mushroom


  1. to catch (fish) or (of fish) to be caught in a gill net
  2. (tr) to gut (fish)


  1. a unit of liquid measure equal to one quarter of a pint
  2. Northern English dialect half a pint, esp of beer

noun dialect

  1. a narrow stream; rivulet
  2. a wooded ravine
  3. (capital when part of place name) a deep natural hole in rock; potholeGaping Gill


  1. archaic a girl or sweetheart
  2. dialect a female ferretAlso spelt: jill
  3. an archaic or dialect name for ground ivy

“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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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