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 Blackfoot and Silverbar, two sanderlings en route to the Arctic; a mackerel called Scomber; an eel called Anguilla; and so on. Amy Brady, Scientific American, 19 Nov. 2021 Tootsie is a 15-year-old mackerel tabby with six toes on all four paws. cleveland, 22 Oct. 2021 During a grouping of fishes in the mackerel and herring families, Mori-san pointed out the kohada, or gizzard shad. Los Angeles Times, 29 July 2021 Sushi Yasuda was praised by Michelin for its mackerel, tuna and salmon sashimi. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 2 June 2021 Fishermen cast their lines 30 feet below in search of halibut, perch and mackerel. Daniel Miller, Los Angeles Times, 26 May 2021 Northeast Atlantic mackerel are arriving more frequently, too. Gloria Dickie, Scientific American, 18 May 2021 And after five years of talk, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council could tap the brakes on halibut taken as bycatch by 18 Bering Sea trawl catcher/processors that target flounders, perch and mackerel. Anchorage Daily News, 13 Apr. 2021 Skipjack accounted for about half of the nearly seven million tonnes of tuna (and tuna-like species, including some mackerel) harvested globally in 2018, the most recent year for which catch numbers exist. Christopher Pollon, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Mar. 2021

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near mackerel

Mackenzie Mountains



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for mackerel

Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mackerel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for mackerel



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

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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