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

  • noun A herring or salmon that has been split, salted, and smoked.
  • transitive verb To prepare (fish) by splitting, salting, and smoking.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To prepare or cure, as salmon, herring, etc., by cleansing them well, giving them several dry rubbings of pepper and salt, and then drying them, either in the open air or artificially, by means of the smoke of peat or juniper-berries.
  • Sprightly; gay; light-footed.
  • Hooked or beaked, as a spent salmon. See the quotation.
  • noun The male salmon when spent after the spawning season.
  • noun A salmon detained in fresh water.
  • noun A kippered herring; a herring for kippering.
  • noun A young man who has been initiated and is classed with the men of his tribe. See bora.

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

  • adjective Prov. Eng. Amorous; also, lively; light-footed; nimble; gay; sprightly.
  • transitive verb To cure, by splitting, salting, and smoking.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A salmon after spawning.
  • noun Scot. A salmon split open, salted, and dried or smoked; -- so called because salmon after spawning were usually so cured, not being good when fresh.
  • noun [Eng. & Scot.] the season in which fishing for salmon is forbidden.

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

  • noun A split, salted and smoked herring.
  • noun military An RAF World War II code name for patrols to protect fishing boats in the Irish and North Seas against attack from the air.
  • verb To prepare a herring or similar fish in that fashion.
  • adjective UK, dialect amorous
  • adjective UK, dialect lively; light-footed; nimble

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

  • noun salted and smoked herring


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

[Middle English kipre, a male salmon in the spawning season, from Old English cypera, probably from cyperen, of copper, from coper, copper (because of the fish's color during the spawning season); see copper.]


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  • A kipper is a whole herring that has been split from tail to head, gutted, salted, and cold smoked.

    Alexia's London: Supper Feb 11, 1876 gailcarriger 2009

  • A kipper is a whole herring that has been split from tail to head, gutted, salted, and cold smoked.

    Alexia's London: Supper Feb 11, 1876 gailcarriger 2009

  • Winter; but being stopt that course, or lost; grow sick in fresh waters, and by degrees unseasonable, and kipper, that is, to have a bony gristle, to grow (not unlike a Hauks beak) on one of his chaps, which hinders him from feeding, and then he pines and dies.

    The Compleat Angler 2007

  • Only the first-years without older siblings were wearing our ties in this "kipper" style, which immediately marked us out as targets for ridicule.

    Archive: Oct 08 - Mar 09 Cath@VWXYNot? 2009

  • We had to wear our ties "kipper" style for school photos.

    Archive: Oct 08 - Mar 09 Cath@VWXYNot? 2009

  • At first they were hoping it was just the "kipper," the name London cabdrivers give the post-Christmas season, when business is slow because people are paying off their credit cards and taking it easy after the holidays.

    London Cabbies 2008

  • It has been claimed his prison nickname was "kipper".

    The Independent - Frontpage RSS Feed 2010

  • United Kingdom it is frequently smoked and grilled (a smoked herring is called a 'kipper').

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en] 2009

  • "kipper" has every girl in the gallery in a tittering ecstasy.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, April 30, 1919 Various

  • The Suffolk sky hangs low and heavy, and from time to time there is the smell on the air of smoking fish, like every day here is kipper day.

    Restaurant review: Butley Orford Oysterage 2012


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  • "The kipper was 'invented' in the 1840s by John Wodger - split, salted and smoked for long-term preservation."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 283

    January 18, 2017