her·​ring | \ ˈher-iŋ How to pronounce herring (audio) , ˈhe-riŋ\
plural herring or herrings

Definition of herring

1 : either of two food fishes (genus Clupeus):
a : one (C. harengus) that is abundant in the temperate and colder parts of the North Atlantic and that in the adult state is preserved by smoking or salting and in the young state is extensively canned and sold as sardines
b : one (C. pallasi synonym C. h. pallasi) of the North Pacific harvested especially for its roe
2 : any of a large family (Clupeidae) of soft-finned bony fishes (such as the herrings, shads, sardines, and menhadens) that have a laterally compressed body and a forked tail and usually occur in schools

Examples of herring in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Despite his efforts to modernize the dining room and bar of the restaurant, Woesle declined to change the menu, serving many heavy, old-fashioned European-style dishes like liver, herring, escargot and wiener schnitzel. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "New chef steers Rancho Santa Fe’s venerable Mille Fleurs in a fresh direction," 4 July 2019 The whales currently weigh about 900 kilos (1,980 pounds) and have strong appetites for herring - which was an essential airplane snack for the not-so-frequent flyers. Washington Post, "Whales from Chinese aquarium starting retirement in Iceland," 19 June 2019 The threat of impeachment, the repercussions from multiple obstructions of justice cited in the Mueller report and this week's red-herring act -- Iran! Lorraine Ali, chicagotribune.com, "Why reality TV has nothing on the Democratic debates," 23 June 2019 In Sweden, residents celebrate the summer solstice by dancing around a maypole and feasting on herrings. oregonlive.com, "4 ways to celebrate the summer solstice in Portland," 20 June 2019 The man fed Max a few herring, then noticed Blades and me. Sallie Tisdale, Harper's magazine, "Catechism of the Waters," 10 June 2019 To start, Chack will sell mostly bagel sandwiches and accouterments, such as flavored cream cheeses and marinated herring, that meet kosher dietary regulations. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Your complete guide to Louisville's Logan Street Market with 25+ vendors and restaurants," 5 June 2019 Included in the 1950s produce was Bloater Paste, a sandwich spread made from herrings. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Was Introduced to the Concept of a Grocery Store Self Check Out Today," 22 May 2019 That was strange, but before letting Arthur by, the knights insisted on yet another shrubbery, then the coup de grâce: cut down the mightiest tree in the forest—with a herring. Robert J. Bellafiore, WSJ, "The New York Union That Says Ni," 7 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'herring.' 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 herring

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

History and Etymology for herring

Middle English hering, from Old English hǣring; akin to Old High German hārinc herring

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Statistics for herring

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for herring

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

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English Language Learners Definition of herring

: a fish that lives in the northern Atlantic Ocean and is often eaten as food


her·​ring | \ ˈher-iŋ How to pronounce herring (audio) \

Kids Definition of herring

: a fish of the northern Atlantic Ocean that is often used for food

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More from Merriam-Webster on herring

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with herring

Spanish Central: Translation of herring

Nglish: Translation of herring for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about herring

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