her·​ring | \ˈher-iŋ, 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

Doctors generally advise adults to eat at least two servings a week of oily fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna that are rich in omega-3s, which are linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Lisa Rapaport, Anchorage Daily News, "Regular consumption of seafood tied to more sex and faster conception," 21 June 2018 At Aamanns 1921 that means smorrebrod — Denmark’s traditional open-faced sandwich, adorned with fixings that include marinated herring, matured cheese, kohlrabi and pickled onions. James Clasper, New York Times, "A Restaurant Where the Bathroom Soap Complements the Meal," 11 Jan. 2018 Fish — especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna and herring — are high in omega-3s, a type of healthy fat. Bianca Arney, baltimoresun.com, "Eating fish for your best health," 2 May 2018 His crewman untied the trap’s bait bag and tossed the sour-smelling herring remains into the water, where a flock of sea gulls scuffled. New York Times, "Climate Change Brought a Lobster Boom. Now It Could Cause a Bust.," 21 June 2018 Lunch is generally light and includes rye bread, salads, fermented products, pickles, herrings and eggs. Lisa Drayer, CNN, "What is the Nordic diet? (And why should you start eating it?)," 23 May 2018 The herring are frozen and sold throughout the year and the demand far exceeds the supply. Laine Welch, Anchorage Daily News, "Upper Cook Inlet’s herring, smelt commercial fisheries pay big bucks to fishermen," 23 Apr. 2018 Although research is limited on this, Drew recommends consuming anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fatty fish including salmon, tuna and herring, and also from walnuts and flaxseeds. Lori Nickel, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Chin Up: The body's second brain — the gut — and how to keep it healthy," 13 June 2018 Here's a selection of everyday items that could be impacted: • Seafood, including trout, eels, salmon, tuna, swordfish, herrings, cod, catfish, crabmeat, squid, claims. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Taxing oxygen? It could happen. President Trump threatens wide-ranging tariffs on China," 11 July 2018

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

5 Nov 2018

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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 \

Kids Definition of herring

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

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by force of circumstances

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