One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A long, slender silvery fish with a dorsal fin running the length of the body, living in the north-eastern Atlantic.
"Trachipterus arcticus", family "Trachipteridae"
- ‘It was handed over to the marine aquarium at Macduff where staff reckoned it was either an oarfish or a dealfish.’
- ‘Dealfish live in the Western Indian Ocean around South Africa and in the Eastern Indian Ocean from southern Australia to New Zealand.’
- ‘The dealfish are deepwater fish that usually reside out of reach of the average fisherman and are therefore rarely encountered.’
Mid 19th century: from deal in the sense ‘board’ (with reference to its shape) + fish.
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