eel

play
noun \ˈēl\

Definition of eel

  1. 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. 2 :  any of various nematodes (as the vinegar eel)

eellike

play \ˈēl-ˌlīk\ adjective

eely

play \ˈē-lē\ 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.

Illustration of eel

Origin and Etymology of eel

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


First Known Use: before 12th century


EEL Defined for English Language Learners

eel

play
noun \ˈēl\

Definition of eel for English Language Learners

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


EEL Defined for Kids

eel

play
noun \ˈēl\

Definition of eel for Students

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


Learn More about eel


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up eel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

an alert or lookout

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • alphabet-magnets
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ