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


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verb, transitive + intransitive

ber·​ley ˈbər-lē How to pronounce berley (audio)
berleyed; berleying; berleys
: 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

Word History



origin unknown

First Known Use

Verb, Transitive + Intransitive

1874, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of berley was in 1874

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Dictionary Entries Near berley

Cite this Entry

“Berley.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2024.

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