One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A young eel, especially when undergoing mass migration upriver from the sea.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘There was a serious shortage of elvers in 1969, since when elvers of the European species have been imported from France.’
- ‘Countries which used to buy mature eels from suppliers like Crowell are now buying elvers to raise and breed themselves.’
- ‘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.’
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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