eel

noun
\ ˈēl How to pronounce eel (audio) \

Definition of eel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : any of numerous voracious elongate snakelike bony fishes (order Anguilliformes) that have a smooth slimy skin, lack pelvic fins, and have the median fins confluent around the tail — compare american eel
b : any of numerous other elongate fishes (as of the order Synbranchiformes)
2 : any of various nematodes (such as the vinegar eel)

eel

verb
eeled; eeling; eels

Definition of eel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive + intransitive

1a : to fish for eels — see also eeling
b : to fish with eels as bait
2 : to move or make (one's way) sinuously or insidiously : worm Stories my Russian friends had told me about the hundreds who were trampled at Stalin's funeral came back to me. Finally, we gave up and eeled our way out of there.— Ian Frazier

Illustration of eel

Illustration of eel

Noun

eel 1a

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from eel

Noun

eellike \ ˈēl-​ˌlīk How to pronounce eellike (audio) \ adjective
eely \ ˈē-​lē How to pronounce eely (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

There are more than 500 fish species known as eels. They are slender, elongated, and usually scaleless, with long dorsal and anal fi ns that are continuous around the tail tip. Eels are found in all seas, from coastal regions to the mid-depths. Freshwater eels are active, predatory fish with small embedded scales. They grow to maturity in freshwater and return to the sea, where they spawn and die. The transparent young drift to the coast and make their way upstream. Freshwater eels, considered valuable food fish, include species ranging from 4 in (10 cm) to about 111⁄2 ft (3.5 m) long.

Examples of eel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Svensson has, quite stunningly, discovered in the natural and human history of the European eel a metaphor for his father’s life and a way to explore questions of knowledge, belief and faith. Katherine A. Powers, Star Tribune, "Audiobooks: Great audiobooks to listen to now," 31 July 2020 Shrimp tempura, asparagus and mango are rolled in, and it's topped with lobster mix, furikake, eel sauce and cheese puree. Andrea Reeves, The Enquirer, "We tried the food (and some sake drinks 🍶) at the new Teak in OTR 🍣," 27 Aug. 2020 Parallel lines of freshwater eel, blanched snow peas, marinated salmon roe, sea urchin roe and chopped tuna mixed with chives are presented in an adorable bamboo container and paired with red miso soup. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "The best fried rice is like jazz," 17 Aug. 2020 The selection is organized by type of fish or shellfish, other seafood entrees (like caviar, octopus, and eel), and even seafood bundles. Liv Birdsall, USA TODAY, "The 10 best places to order seafood online," 11 Aug. 2020 Alas, like so many creatures, the eel is endangered, most likely because of environmental mayhem. Katherine A. Powers, Star Tribune, "Audiobooks: Great audiobooks to listen to now," 31 July 2020 Behind its ornate ceremonial entrance, travelers could luxuriate with private baths, soft bedding and skilled chefs preparing delicacies like steamed eel and fermented octopus in vinegar. Hiroshi Okamoto, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Way of the Shogun," 9 July 2020 Alas, like so many creatures, the eel is endangered, most likely because of environmental mayhem. Katherine A. Powers, Star Tribune, "Audiobooks: Great audiobooks to listen to now," 31 July 2020 Some, such as salmon, move from the sea into rivers to spawn; others, such as the European eel, mature in freshwater but spawn in the ocean. Stefan Lovgren, National Geographic, "Many freshwater fish species have declined by 76 percent in less than 50 years," 27 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These men eel entitled and had been protected from being outed. James Warren, vanityfair.com, "How Hollywood Will Change After Weinstein," 20 Oct. 2017 These men eel entitled and had been protected from being outed. James Warren, The Hive, "How Hollywood Will Change After Weinstein," 20 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of eel

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1922, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for eel

Noun

Middle English ele, from Old English ǣl; akin to Old High German āl eel

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Time Traveler for eel

Time Traveler

The first known use of eel was before the 12th century

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Statistics for eel

Last Updated

16 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Eel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eel. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for eel

eel

noun
How to pronounce eel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of eel

: a long fish that looks like a snake and has smooth slippery skin

eel

noun
\ ˈēl How to pronounce eel (audio) \

Kids Definition of eel

: a long fish that looks like a snake and has smooth slimy skin

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More from Merriam-Webster on eel

Nglish: Translation of eel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eel for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about eel

Comments on eel

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