eel

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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)
eellike adjective
eely adjective

Illustration of eel

Illustration of eel
  • eel 1a

eel

2 of 2

verb

eeled; eeling; eels

transitive + intransitive

1
a
: 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

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
Share [Findings] Electric eel discharge transforms the DNA of zebrafish larvae. Rafil Kroll-Zaidi, Harper's Magazine, 19 June 2024 Glass eels hate turbulence, and cold water stupefies them. Paige Williams, The New Yorker, 17 June 2024
Verb
See also: eel ‘The Theory of the Leisure Class’ by Thorstein Veblen Thorstein Veblen’s 1899 magnum opus, The Theory of the Leisure Class, could be considered a forerunner of the behavioral economics so popular now. The Editors, Robb Report, 28 Mar. 2024 With his brother-in-law as president, Mr. Saint-Rémy wielded enormous influence, often demanding that choice licenses and contracts be awarded to him, particularly eel export licenses, according to officials in Mr. Martelly’s government. New York Times, 12 Dec. 2021 See all Example Sentences for eel 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'eel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

1922, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near eel

Cite this Entry

“Eel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eel. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

eel

noun
plural eels or eel
: any of numerous long snakelike fishes that have a smooth slimy skin and the fins in the middle of the back and bottom continuous around the tail
eellike adjective

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