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Scomber scombrus


  • IPA(key): /ˈmæk(ə)ɹəl/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: mack‧e‧rel
  • Rhymes: -ækəɹəl

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English mackerell, macrell, macrelle, makarell, makerel, makerell, makerelle, makrel, makrell, makyrelle, from Old French maquerel. Further origin unknown.


mackerel (countable and uncountable, plural mackerel or mackerels)

  1. Certain smaller edible fish, principally true mackerel and Spanish mackerel in family Scombridae, often speckled,
    1. typically Scomber scombrus in the British isles.
  2. A true mackerel, any fish of tribe Scombrini (Scomber spp., Rastrelliger spp.)
  3. Certain other similar small fish in families Carangidae, Gempylidae, and Hexagrammidae.
Derived terms[edit]
See also[edit]


Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English makerel, maquerel, 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 [3]
      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[4], →ISBN, page 118:
      You can't 'work' in a legal brothel without mackerel.
    • 2012, J. Robert Janes, Mayhem[5], →ISBN:
      Perhaps, but my sources think the mackerel knew of this girl but she didn't know of him.