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


verb, transitive + intransitive
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

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First Known Use of berley

Verb, transitive + intransitive

1874, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for berley


origin unknown

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Berlese funnel



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Cite this Entry

“Berley.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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