cavalla

noun

ca·​val·​la kə-ˈva-lə How to pronounce cavalla (audio)
plural cavalla or cavallas
1
or less commonly cavally : any of various carangid fishes
2

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Spanish caballa "mackerel (Scomber scombrus or Scomber colias)," feminine derivative of caballo "horse," going back to Latin caballus "work horse, gelding" — more at cavalcade

Note: According to Joan Coromines (Diccionario crítico etimológico castellano e hispánico) Spanish caballa was originally applied to a species of flying fish, from its supposed resemblance to a horse. This seems somewhat unlikely, and in any case the application of animal names to fish varieties in other instances appears to lack obvious semantic motivation (compare redhorse).

First Known Use

1624, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cavalla was in 1624

Dictionary Entries Near cavalla

Cite this Entry

“Cavalla.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cavalla. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

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