mack·​er·​el | \ ˈma-k(ə-)rəl How to pronounce mackerel (audio) \
plural mackerel or mackerels

Definition of mackerel

1 : a scombroid fish (Scomber scombrus of the family Scombridae) of the North Atlantic that is green above with dark blue bars and silvery below and is a commercially important food fish
2 : any of various fishes (such as the wahoo and king mackerel) in the same family as the mackerel especially when distinguished from the related bonito or tuna by a comparatively smaller size

Illustration of mackerel

Illustration of mackerel

mackerel 1

Examples of mackerel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the case of Atlantic mackerel, the fishery is comanaged by Norway, the Faroe Islands and the European Union. Kendra Pierre-louis, New York Times, "Warming Waters, Moving Fish: How Climate Change Is Reshaping Iceland," 29 Nov. 2019 Fully submerge the mackerel in the vinegar solution and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to two days. Michael A. Gardiner, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Unrushed rice is key to success with homemade sushi," 6 Aug. 2019 Two metal bars reached into the darkness, holding a dead mackerel above a seafloor covered in soft brown sediment. Susan Casey, Outside Online, "One Man's Wild Quest to Reach the Bottom of Every Ocean," 22 Oct. 2019 After the turn of the century, mackerel escaping warming ocean waters started mass-migrating into Iceland's territorial waters. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, "Icelanders can't remember a hotter summer. It's nice, and worrying," 27 Aug. 2019 But mackerel are now swimming in the warmer currents around Iceland, and the value of the catch has risen noticeably. Liz Alderman, New York Times, "What Worries Iceland? A World Without Ice. It Is Preparing.," 9 Aug. 2019 Remove the mackerel from the solution and pat dry with a paper towel. Michael A. Gardiner, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Unrushed rice is key to success with homemade sushi," 6 Aug. 2019 The catch has normally included mackerel, bass, halibut, croaker and rock fish. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Wet winter brings variety of visitors to garden," 3 Aug. 2019 Féau, formerly at the Royce and Wally’s Santa Monica, will oversee a selection of French classics and plats du jour, including white-wine-poached mackerel, ahi tuna piperade, hanger steak with shallots, and a Grand Marnier soufflé. Hadley Tomicki,, "Jeremy Fox to open Birdie G's this week, Pizzana in WeHo and Leo's Tacos in the SFV," 18 June 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of mackerel

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mackerel

Middle English makerel, from Anglo-French

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mackerel

Time Traveler for mackerel

Time Traveler

The first known use of mackerel was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for mackerel

Last Updated

27 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Mackerel.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mackerel


How to pronounce mackerel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mackerel

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


mack·​er·​el | \ ˈma-kə-rəl How to pronounce mackerel (audio) , ˈmak-rəl \
plural mackerel or mackerels

Kids Definition of mackerel

: a fish of the North Atlantic that is green above with blue bars and silvery below and is often used as food

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on mackerel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mackerel

Spanish Central: Translation of mackerel

Nglish: Translation of mackerel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mackerel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about mackerel

Comments on mackerel

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


to insert between existing elements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!