from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Herring that have not spawned, filleted and prepared with salt, vinegar, sugar, and spices.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Young filleted herring that has been matured shortly in brine and prepared traditionally with vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices.
Partial translation of Dutch maatjesharing : maatjes (alteration of maeghdekins, genitive of maeghdekin, maiden, diminutive of maagd, maid; see maghu- in Indo-European roots) + haring, herring.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Dutch maatjesharing ("matjes herring"), from maatjes ("young, small") + haring ("herring"), from earlier forms maetgens-, maeghdekins-, medykens- ("maiden-like"), from maagd ("maiden") + -kin ("-kin"), so called because matjes herring is made of young herring that has never spawned. (Wiktionary)