1 of 2


kip·​per ˈki-pər How to pronounce kipper (audio)
: a male salmon or sea trout during or after the spawning season
: a kippered herring or salmon


2 of 2


kippered; kippering ˈki-p(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce kipper (audio)

transitive verb

: to cure (split dressed fish) by salting and smoking
kipperer noun

Did you know?

An American visiting Scotland once reported to The New York Times that "a kipper is prepared by taking a herring fresh (no more than 24 hours out of the water), plump, oily (15 percent or more fat content is best), soaking it in a saltwater brine and smoking it slowly over a fire composed of oak chips." This process of creating a kipper (called kippering) goes back to at least the 18th century, but the word kipper dates all the way back to before the 12th century, when it was spelled cypera and was used specifically to mean "a spawning salmon." Cypera is related to the Old English word for copper (coper) and may have been suggested by the salmon's color.

Examples of kipper in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
There was English kippers and eggs a la Danny Kaye and Strawberries Heston with sour cream and honey for Charlton Heston. Pat Saperstein, Variety, 16 Oct. 2023 Miamians dressed well, for Miami Joe dressed well, his purple suits—solid, or with pinstripes of different widths—masterfully tailored, complemented by his collection of short, fat kipper ties. Colson Whitehead, The New Yorker, 19 July 2021 This is why, even as Brexiters like U.K Prime Minister Boris Johnson bash regulations for everything from kippers to socks, the FCA still thinks everything’s peachy with the new rules on investment research. Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2019 British kipper manufacturers, Johnson said, were having their costs unfairly pushed up by E.U. regulations. Billy Perrigo, Time, 24 July 2019 The fact that the rules governing kipper shipments are in fact set by the U.K., not the E.U., was also characteristic of the man now headed to 10 Downing Street, who has a long history of putting compelling narratives ahead of facts. Billy Perrigo, Time, 24 July 2019
Expect all of the classic fish options like lox, kippered salmon and whitefish salad. Janelle Bitker,, 6 Nov. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'kipper.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English kypre, from Old English cypera; akin to Old English coper copper

First Known Use


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


1773, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of kipper was before the 12th century


Dictionary Entries Near kipper

Cite this Entry

“Kipper.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
kip·​per ˈkip-ər How to pronounce kipper (audio)
: a kippered herring or salmon


2 of 2 verb
kippered; kippering -(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce kipper (audio)
: to cure by splitting, cleaning, salting, and smoking

More from Merriam-Webster on kipper

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