Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small edible marine fish (Mallotus villosus) of northern Atlantic and Pacific waters, related to and resembling the smelt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small fish of the smelt family found in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, Mallotus villosus.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Either of two small marine fishes formerly classified in the family Salmonidæ, now within the smelt family Osmeridae: Mallotus villosus, very abundant on the coasts of Greenland, Iceland, Newfoundland, and Alaska; or Mallotus catervarius, found in the North Pacific. The Atlantic variety has been used as a bait for the cod.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as caplin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. very small northern fish; forage for sea birds and marine mammals and other fishes

Etymologies

Canadian French capelan, from French, codfish, from Old Provençal, from Medieval Latin cappelānus; see chaplain.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French capelan < Old Provençal capelan < Late Latin cappellanus ("chaplain"). (Wiktionary)

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