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  • IPA(key): /ˈmækɹəl/
  • Hyphenation: mack‧e‧rel
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

Middle English, from Old French maquerel. Further origin unknown.


mackerel (plural mackerel or mackerels)

  1. An edible fish of the family Scombridae, often speckled.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 8, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Philander went into the next room [] and came back with a salt mackerel that dripped brine like a rainstorm. Then he put the coffee pot on the stove and rummaged out a loaf of dry bread and some hardtack.
Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]


Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English [Term?], from Old French maquerel, from Middle Dutch makelare, makelaer (broker) (> makelaar (broker, peddler)). See also French maquereau.


mackerel (plural mackerels)

  1. (obsolete) A pimp; also, a bawd.
    • 1483, William Caxton, Magnus Cato, quoted in James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, Obsolete Phrases, Proverbs and Ancient Customs, from the Fourteenth Century, vol. 2, publ. by John Russell Smith (1847), page 536.
      [] nyghe his hows dwellyd a maquerel or bawde []
    • 1980, The Police Journal, Volume 53 (page 257) doi:10.1177/0032258X8005300305 (also available at Google books)
    • 1981, Peter Gammond, Raymond Horricks, Big Bands, page 15:
      Hundreds of ‘night birds’ and their ‘mackerels’ and other vice-pushers were sent packing.
    • 2006, Paul Crowley, Message-ID: <ciGug.11527$> in humanities.lit.authors.shakespeare [1]
      A procurer or a pimp is a broker (or broker-between), a mackerel, or a pandar; the last is not necessarily-and, indeed, not usually-a professional.
    • 2009, Jeffery Klaehn, Roadblocks to Equality, →ISBN, (page 118) [2]
      You can't 'work' in a legal brothel without mackerel.
    • 2012, J. Robert Janes, Mayhem, →ISBN, [3]
      Perhaps, but my sources think the mackerel knew of this girl but she didn't know of him.