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

  • n. A young salmon at the stage intermediate between the parr and the grilse, when it becomes covered with silvery scales and first migrates from fresh water to the sea.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Bright; serene.
  • adj. Calm; fine; fair.
  • adj. Smooth and shining.
  • n. A young salmon two or three years old, when it has acquired its silvery color.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A young salmon two or three years old, when it has acquired its silvery color.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A salmon in its second year, when it has lost its parr-marks and assumed its silvery scales; the stage of salmon-growth between the parr and the grilse. The smolt proceeds at once to the sea, and reappears in fresh water as the grilse.
  • Smooth and shining.


Middle English, from Medieval Latin smoltus, probably of Old English origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English smolt, smylt, from Old English smolt, smeolt ("mild, peaceful, serene, still, gentle, clear, bright"), from Proto-Indo-European *smultaz, *smeltaz (“quiet, gentle”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)meld- (“to beat, grind, crush, make weak”). Cognate with Scots smolt ("calm"), Old Saxon smultro ("quiet"), Middle Dutch smolt, smout ("weak, gentle, quiet"), Middle High German smolz ("dear, lovely, beautiful, sheen"). (Wiktionary)
Probably an alteration of smelt, due to smolt ("smooth"). See above. (Wiktionary)


  • The infant salmon remains in fresh water at least one year, generally two years, without growing more than a few inches, and then about May assumes what is called the smolt-dress, that is to say, it loses the dark parr-bands and red spots of infancy and becomes silvery all over.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 2, Part 1, Slice 1

  • "smolt," and is from six to eight inches long, still living in the river where it was hatched.

    Lippincott's Magazine, Volume 11, No. 26, May, 1873

  • Slack water behind the dams make migrating smolt vulnerable to predators, and turbines at the dams puree many of them.

    Better Red Than Dead

  • Trouble is, the Army Corps of Engineers has been barging and trucking smolt for 17 years, and the populations have still been plunging.

    Better Red Than Dead

  • O. m. gairdneri steelhead spend two to three years in fresh water, smolt, and migrate to salt water.

    Trout and Salmon of North America

  • Most sockeye smolt and migrate to the ocean when they are 3 to 6 inches 8-15 cm long.

    Trout and Salmon of North America

  • They smolt and enter marine waters at only a few months of age, as pink and chum salmon do.

    Trout and Salmon of North America

  • In these two species, the young smolt when they are barely 1 inch 25 mm long, allowing great numbers of juvenile salmon to migrate to the ocean from even small areas of freshwater spawning habitat.

    Trout and Salmon of North America

  • In the northern part of their range, however, steelhead commonly smolt at three years of age.

    Trout and Salmon of North America

  • In Arctic regions, it typically takes from four to eight years before a smolt size of about 7 to 10 inches 18-25 cm is attained, and the char then make annual migrations to the sea for about 30 to 60 days for intensive feeding.

    Trout and Salmon of North America


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  • "Brown storks flock to brooks to look for schools of smolt or schools of snook."
    Eunoia by Christian Bök (upgraded edition), p 69

    May 22, 2010

  • I released smolt on Saturday; it was a lot of fun.

    April 28, 2009

  • fair and calm weather with a blue sky.

    April 28, 2009