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

  • n. Chiefly Northeastern U.S. A sky covered with many small cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds, resembling the markings found on a mackerel. Also called regionally buttermilk sky.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a sky filled with a regular pattern of altocumulus clouds somewhat resembling the skin of a mackerel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a sky flecked with small white clouds; a cirro-cumulus. See Cloud.
  • n. A sky filled with rows of cirrocumulus or small altocumulus clouds.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A sky in which the clouds have the form called cirro-cumulus—that is, are broken into fleecy masses three, four, or more times as long as they are wide, and arranged in parallel groups. Also called mackerel-back sky.

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

  • n. a sky filled with rows of cirrocumulus or small altocumulus clouds


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  • That's one of my favorite sayings.

    September 15, 2014

  • "Mackerel sky, mackerel sky.
    Never long wet and never long dry."
    Old folk saying.
    The sages at sea and on the farm
    Read clouds for signs of looming harm.
    But if "mackerel sky"
    Means both wet and dry
    Should one take comfort or alarm?

    September 14, 2014