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

And in Lake Huron, lake herring have been stocked for the last two years in Saginaw Bay. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Lake herring restoration is being considered for Lake Michigan," 3 Jan. 2018 Kodiak's herring fishery opens April 15 with a harvest set at just under 1,200 tons. Laine Welch, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska salmon permit values stall amid lackluster catch forecast," 14 Apr. 2018 There, try locally made licorice, sea-buckthorn juice, and, of course, smoked herring—traditionally served with egg yolk and rye bread, also called Sol over Gudhjem, the dish that gave the fest its name. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Places to Travel in June," 9 May 2018 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

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

21 May 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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