ber·​ley | \ ˈbər-lē How to pronounce berley (audio) \
plural -s

Definition of berley

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: bait that is scattered on water in order to attract fish : ground bait They vary a little, but the best ordinary berley is made out of bran, pollard, flour, salt or fresh herrings or tinned fish and bread crumbs.— Charles Thackery, The Amateur Fisherman's Guide, 1895 Try mixing a very stiff berley of soaked pellets and bread or crusts … — Greg Irving, The Advertiser (Australia), 24 Dec. 1993 Another favorite fishing technique was to stand in the lee of a point with a spear poised over the still water, spitting chewed-up mussels into the water as berley.— Tim Fridtjof Flannery, The Birth of Sydney, 2000
ber·​ley | \ ˈbər-lē How to pronounce berley (audio) \
berleyed; berleying; berleys

Definition of berley (Entry 2 of 2)

: to use berley to attract fish Mr Hepburn … said berleying encouraged sharks in canals and may make them “more comfortable” around boats and swimmers. — Paul Weston, Sunday Mail (Queensland, Australia), 29 May 2005 He said the penalty for unlawful berleying using animal or bird products would depend on the circumstances. — Clare Peddie, The Advertiser (Australia), 10 Nov. 2010 Jetty fish are usually berleyed too heavily during holiday periods, filling them up and putting them off the bite. — Greg Irving, The Advertiser (Australia), 24 Dec. 1993

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of berley

Verb, transitive + intransitive

1874, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for berley


origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about berley

Statistics for berley

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for berley

The first known use of berley was in 1874

See more words from the same year

Comments on berley

What made you want to look up berley? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!