mackerel








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.

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)

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.

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