plural sprats also sprat
: a small European marine fish (Sprattus sprattus) of the herring family

called also brisling

: any of various small or young fish (such as an anchovy) related to or resembling the herrings
: a young, small, or insignificant person

Examples of sprat in a Sentence

planning to spend their vacation at a couples-only resort where they would not be bothered by snotty-nosed sprats
Recent Examples on the Web Her family’s Christmas lunch includes two versions of Jansson’s temptation (one with sprats, one without) and, of course, schnapps and singing. Eric Kim, New York Times, 20 Dec. 2023 The fish’s brine perfumes the cream with warm spices, such as nutmeg and cinnamon, and the sprats themselves melt into oblivion after a long bake. Eric Kim, New York Times, 20 Dec. 2023 The store’s shelves are stocked with sausages, many-layered honey cake, tinned sprats from Latvia, and other Eastern European goods. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 11 July 2023 Baltic Sea sprat smoked with heather and chamomile, say — to stretch your taste beyond its comfort zone and perhaps prime your next order. New York Times, 26 Aug. 2021 If left to swim downstream by themselves, some of the sprats would get lost and overheated in the stagnant reservoirs behind each dam; despite screens, others would be ground up in the turbines. Patrick Symmes, Harper's magazine, 28 Oct. 2019 In the Baltic Sea, juvenile herring and sprat – another small herring-like fish – have more food available to them in warm years than in cool years, and have also benefited from warming. Chris Free, The Conversation, 19 Aug. 2019

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

Word History


alteration of Middle English sprot, from Old English sprott

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of sprat was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near sprat

Cite this Entry

“Sprat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sprat. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on sprat

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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