from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various silvery fishes of the family Clupeidae, especially the commercially important Clupea harengus of the northern Atlantic Ocean and C. pallasii of the northern Pacific Ocean.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To manure with herring or other fish.
  • noun A clupeoid fish, Clupea harengus, of great economic importance and commercial value.
  • noun A herring which has been gutted and dried for keeping.
  • noun A pickled herring.
  • noun In Australia, Prototroctes maræna, the Yarra herring, fresh-water herring, grayling, or cucumber-mullet, found in the rivers of Victoria and Tasmania.
  • noun The ten-pounder, Elops saurus, found in all tropical waters.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) One of various species of fishes of the genus Clupea, and allied genera, esp. the common round or English herring (Clupea harengus) of the North Atlantic. Herrings move in vast schools, coming in spring to the shores of Europe and America, where they are salted and smoked in great quantities.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a large gull which feeds in part upon herrings; esp., Larus argentatus in America, and Larus cachinnans in England. See Gull.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the common porpoise.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The opah.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A type of small, oily fish of the genus Clupea, often used as food.

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

  • noun commercially important food fish of northern waters of both Atlantic and Pacific
  • noun valuable flesh of fatty fish from shallow waters of northern Atlantic or Pacific; usually salted or pickled


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

[Middle English hering, from Old English hǣring.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English hering, from Old English hǣring, from Proto-Germanic *hēringaz, further etymology unknown. Cognate with Dutch haring, German Hering etc.


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  • "Herring was so plentiful that the Abbey of St Edmond received a rent of 30,000 fish a year from the port of Beccles."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 69

    January 8, 2017