One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A young eel, especially when undergoing mass migration upriver from the sea.
- ‘In Cambray's freshwater fish surveys he met many farmers who have seen the little elvers and the large eels in their rivers and thought that the eels bred in the rivers.’
- ‘Countries which used to buy mature eels from suppliers like Crowell are now buying elvers to raise and breed themselves.’
- ‘If the water is clear enough, try fly fishing for them with any fly that imitates something small and silvery like an elver or sand eel or small fish.’
- ‘Measures are now being taken to decrease the impact of fisheries on A. rostrata populations in the United States, such as more closely regulating harvesting of glass eels and elvers.’
- ‘There was a serious shortage of elvers in 1969, since when elvers of the European species have been imported from France.’
Mid 17th century: variant of dialect eel-fare ‘the passage of young eels up a river’, also ‘a brood of young eels’, from eel + fare in its original sense ‘a journey’.
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