noun \ˈsmelt\

: a type of small fish that can be eaten

plural smelts or smelt

Full Definition of SMELT

:  any of a family (Osmeridae) of small bony fishes that closely resemble the trouts in general structure, live along coasts and ascend rivers to spawn or are landlocked, and have delicate oily flesh with a distinctive odor and taste

Origin of SMELT

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Norwegian smelte whiting
First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Fishes Terms

char, chum, ichthyology, tetra, turbot

Rhymes with SMELT


transitive verb

: to melt rock that contains metal in order to get the metal out

Full Definition of SMELT

:  to melt or fuse (as ore) often with an accompanying chemical change usually to separate the metal
:  refine, reduce

Examples of SMELT

  1. the process used for smelting iron ore

Origin of SMELT

Dutch or Low German smelten; akin to Old High German smelzan to melt, Old English meltan — more at melt
First Known Use: 1543

Other Metals and Metallurgy Terms

assay, bloom, bullion, ductile, ingot, malleable, patina, plate, temper, tensile


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of certain slender, silvery, carnivorous, food fishes (family Osmeridae) having a small fleshy fin. Smelts live in cold northern seas, and most species spawn a short distance upstream. The American smelt (Osmerus mordax), introduced from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes, is the largest smelt, about 15 in. (38 cm) long. The European smelt (O. eperlanus) is similar. Among Pacific species are the rainbow herring, capelin, and eulachon, or candlefish, which is so oily at spawning time that it can be dried and burned as a candle. Silversides (see grunion) and other unrelated fishes are sometimes called smelts.


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