kip·​per | \ ˈki-pər How to pronounce kipper (audio) \

Definition of kipper

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a male salmon or sea trout during or after the spawning season
2 : a kippered herring or salmon


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

Definition of kipper (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from kipper


kipperer \ ˈki-​pər-​ər How to pronounce kipperer (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?


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: Noun

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, "Boris Johnson Led the Charge for Brexit. Now, as Prime Minister, He Must Deliver It," 24 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kipper.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of kipper


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


1773, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kipper


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

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Last Updated

28 Jul 2019

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

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English Language Learners Definition of kipper

chiefly British : a herring that has been preserved with salt and then smoked

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More from Merriam-Webster on kipper

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with kipper

Spanish Central: Translation of kipper

Nglish: Translation of kipper for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about kipper

Comments on kipper

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


to shake or wave menacingly

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