From Middle English hering, from Old English hǣring, from Proto-Germanic *hēringaz (“herring”), further etymology unknown. Possibly derived from Proto-Germanic *hērą (“hair”) + -ing, due to the similarity of their thin bones to hair. Cognate with Scots hering, haring (“herring”), Saterland Frisian Hiering, Häiring (“herring”), West Frisian hjerring (“herring”), Dutch haring (“herring”), German Low German Hereng, Hering (“herring”), German Hering (“herring”). French hareng, Norman ĥéren, Latin haringus, etc. are borrowings from Germanic.
herring (plural herrings or herring)
- A type of small, oily fish of the genus Clupea, often used as food.
1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 4, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
- Then he commenced to talk, really talk. and inside of two flaps of a herring's fin he had me mesmerized, like Eben Holt's boy at the town hall show. He talked about the ills of humanity, and the glories of health and Nature and service and land knows what all.
- Fish in the family Clupeidae.
- Fish similar to those in genus Clupea, many of those in the order Clupeiformes.
- Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus)
- Baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras)
- English herring (Clupea harengus)
- longfin herring (Pristigasteridae)
- matjes herring
- Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii)
- red herring
- round herring (Dussumieriidae)
- thread herring (Opisthonema)
- wolf herring (Chirocentridae)