Main definitions of gill in English

: gill1gill2gill3gill4

gill1

noun

  • 1The paired respiratory organ of fish and some amphibians, by which oxygen is extracted from water flowing over surfaces within or attached to the walls of the pharynx.

    • ‘Barracuda often pump their jaws in order to move water past their gills.’
    • ‘Fish start to suffocate out of water and their gills may collapse and bleed.’
    • ‘Fish with torn gills die as inevitably as you would if your lungs were shredded.’
    • ‘White-tailed eagles, which inhabit the same territory, may struggle for hours merely to pry an opening around a fish's gills or front fin.’
    • ‘Cold, foamy water hushed over the rocks, and the gills of the fishes that swam in it caressed the rocks.’
    • ‘When in the water, they breathe with their gills as most fish do.’
    • ‘In fish, the branchial apparatus forms a system of gills for exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide between the blood and the water.’
    • ‘In fishes and some amphibians, the slits bear gills and are used for gas exchange.’
    • ‘Some others, like the Siamese fighting fish, are capable of breathing air in addition to extracting oxygen from the water with their gills.’
    • ‘Apparently squirting fresh water into the gills gets them off.’
    • ‘Otherwise they have to keep swimming to force oxygenated water past their gills.’
    • ‘Fish, for example, pump water across their gills with their head muscles.’
    • ‘In fishes there is equivalent ‘ventilation’ of the gills with water.’
    • ‘To make matters worse, fish have large respiratory membranes, the gills, which expose a huge amount of surface area to the watery medium.’
    • ‘It takes several weeks after hatching to form and until then they are dependent on water absorbed through the gills, the same as any other fish.’
    • ‘In any fish, when blood cycles through the gills to receive oxygen, it also cools to the temperature of the surrounding water.’
    • ‘Fish are subject to a variety of maladies, such as grubs or worms, which may be found in or on the skin, attached to gills, or embedded in the flesh.’
    • ‘At fish-cleaning stations, cleaner fish nibble the parasites from the gills and mouths of fishes much larger than they are.’
    • ‘When you see an aquarium fish gulping water, or ‘making a gookie,’ you will also see the gill cover opening and the gills fluttering, as water is drawn over the gills and the fish breathes.’
    • ‘These fish do not have gills or opercula (gill coverings) like most bony fishes.’
    1. 1.1 An organ in an invertebrate animal with a similar function to gills in fish and amphibians.
      • ‘They depend on this to acquire dissolved nutrients from the surrounding water, in much the same way that animals use the large surface area of their gills in order to obtain oxygen.’
      • ‘In some forms the gills were able to remain moist and so allow the animal to move about on land for short periods.’
      • ‘In addition to two eyes and a mouth, this animal has markings suggesting gills.’
      • ‘Notice the three large gills that the animal uses to ‘breathe’ in its underwater environment.’
  • 2The vertical plates arranged radially on the underside of mushrooms and many toadstools.

    • ‘An agaric, such as the common field mushroom, has gills in the form of fine, radiating ‘plates’.’
    • ‘Agaricus indicates a mushroom with gills, and bisporus refers to this variety's self-sufficiently needing no second mushroom to make little mushrooms.’
    • ‘They are quite unlike the radiating ribs of ordinary mushrooms, but serve the same function, i.e. they constitute the gills on which the spores are carried.’
    • ‘Look for the white cap, stout white stem which detaches easily from the cap, and the pink gills, which turn brown as the mushroom matures.’
    • ‘He squatted next to her and ran his fingers gently along the gills of one of the large mushrooms.’
  • 3The wattles or dewlap of a domestic fowl.

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Gut or clean (a fish).

    • ‘In an attempt to sell it all, he would visit motor camps, his car towing a trailer loaded with iced, gilled and gutted fish and him shouting, ‘fresh snapper for sale!’’
    • ‘Invaluable for tailing, gilling and holding strange fish.’
    • ‘Before they put fillet knives in front of American anglers, most of us gutted, gilled and scaled all of our fish.’
    • ‘Immediately after this, gut and gill all fish you wish to eat.’
    • ‘A small whole bass of anything up to about four pounds gets scaled when caught, gilled and gutted.’
  • 2Catch (a fish) in a gill net.

Origin

Middle English: from Old Norse.

Pronunciation:

gill

/ɡɪl/

Main definitions of gill in English

: gill1gill2gill3gill4

gill2

noun

  • A unit of liquid measure, equal to a quarter of a pint.

    • ‘Her cheese pudding has an ounce and a half of breadcrumbs, an ounce of cheese, one gill of milk and half an egg.’
    • ‘At school we had a free gill of milk each morning break as part of the government's plan to build a nation of healthy young things.’
    • ‘Rustic enough that the notice over the bar still claimed to serve spirits in measures of 1/6 gill.’
    • ‘A tot is a sixth, a fifth, a quarter or a third of a gill of whisky.’
    • ‘The sets of weights were once the work tools of the county's pound police where they were used to measure the pounds, ounces, quarters and gills of an untold number of items.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French gille measure or container for wine, from late Latin gillo water pot.

Pronunciation:

gill

/ɡɪl/

Main definitions of gill in English

: gill1gill2gill3gill4

gill3

(also ghyll)

noun

Northern English
  • 1A deep ravine, especially a wooded one.

    • ‘A man who failed to return home from a walk in the Helvellyn area spent the night under a bush in a ghyll as 32 rescuers from three areas searched the entire range for him.’
    • ‘After sampling the cheese, walk to the neighbouring village of Hardraw, which is Old English for ‘shepherd's dwelling ’, and view Hardraw Force where Hearne Beck plunges nearly 100 ft into the deep ghyll below.’
    • ‘From the early 10th cent. there was considerable Norse settlement, from Ireland and the Isle of Man, leaving evidence in words like fell, ghyll, tarn, and how.’
  • 2A narrow mountain stream.

    • ‘It's lovely, you sort of follow a gill that has alders like the River Cover, but almost different trees, small and gnarled and ancient looking.’
    stream, small river, streamlet, rivulet, rill, brooklet, runnel, runlet, freshet, gill
    View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Old Norse gil deep glen. The spelling ghyll was introduced by Wordsworth.

Pronunciation:

gill

/ɡɪl/

Main definitions of gill in English

: gill1gill2gill3gill4

gill4

(also jill)

noun

  • 1A female ferret.

    Compare with hob
    • ‘A female ferret is called a jill while a male is called a hob.’
  • 2derogatory A young woman.

Origin

Late Middle English: abbreviation of the given name Gillian.

Pronunciation:

gill

/ɡɪl/