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 2019, Norwegian mackerel sold for an average of $1.83 a kilo. Regin Winther Poulsen, The Atlantic, "The Rules for Dividing the Ocean’s Riches Are Breaking," 13 Feb. 2021 But, said Michael O’Neill of Dingle Boat Tours, one of two groups that operate dolphin-spotting trips in the harbor, Fungie always insisted on catching his own mackerel and pollock, which may have been his undoing. New York Times, "Fungie, Ireland’s Missing Dolphin, ‘Goes With the Tide’," 27 Oct. 2020 French President Emmanuel Macron insisted that French pecheurs should not lose their rights to extract mackerel from the English Channel. William Booth, Washington Post, "Boris Johnson threatens a no-deal Brexit as Britain and France fight over fish," 16 Oct. 2020 This bag, from our spring 2018 collection and printed with a mackerel, was an homage to that tradition. Natalia Rachlin, New York Times, "The British Design Legend Known for Tailoring With a Twist," 15 Oct. 2020 Barrett must have been sorely tempted to walk over to each senator who asked this question and slap him or her with a large mackerel. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Chasing Amy," 15 Oct. 2020 Two-thirds of British mackerel and most of its herring catch is exported to the EU. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "A fine kettle: How fishing became the issue that could sink a post-Brexit U.K.-EU trade deal," 15 Oct. 2020 Also expect more substantial savory lunchtime options like asam laksa, a spicy-sour mackerel noodle soup popular in Penang. Janelle Bitker,, "7 highly anticipated Bay Area restaurants still opening this fall," 9 Sep. 2020 Eat bread rolls crammed with fresh mackerel for a few lire in Istanbul’s Eminönü area. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "51 Things in Europe that Every Traveler Needs to Experience," 4 Aug. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for mackerel

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for mackerel

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mackerel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on mackerel

Nglish: Translation of mackerel for Spanish Speakers

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

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