1

eel

noun \ ˈēl \
Updated on: 5 Dec 2017

Definition of eel

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

play \ˈēl-ˌlīk\ adjective

eely

play \ˈē-lē\ adjective

Recent Examples of eel from the Web

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.

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.

Illustration of eel

Origin and Etymology of eel

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


2

eel

verb, transitive + intransitive

Definition of eel

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

Recent Examples of eel from the Web

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.

First Known Use of eel

1922


EEL Defined for Kids

eel

noun \ ˈēl \

Definition of eel for Students

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


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