Definition of herring in English:



  • A fairly small silvery fish which is most abundant in coastal waters and is of widespread commercial importance.

    Clupea and other genera, family Clupeidae (the herring family): several species, in particular (C. harengus), of the North Atlantic. The herring family also includes the sprats, shads, and pilchards

    • ‘He must have loads of hilarious anecdotes about pickled herrings and jellied eels.’
    • ‘One never wanted to eat anything but herrings; another ate only sole.’
    • ‘Like many great European cities, Stockholm has a vibrant café culture where the residents indulge their love of cold Pilsner (not as expensive as you might think) and pickled herrings.’
    • ‘The pier, which has been disused for many years, was built during the herring fishing boom in the early 1900s.’
    • ‘The growth of the herring fishing industry in the 19th century put the Broch firmly on the map.’
    • ‘I had the Russian blinis: buckwheat pancakes served with gravlax, prawns, herring roll mops and two superb garnishes of chopped herrings - one with whole grain mustard, the other with mayonnaise.’
    • ‘The two largest and most important of the herrings were probably blueback herring (A. aestivalis) and hickory shad (A. mediocris).’
    • ‘Sophie Grigson makes a Germanic salad with beetroot, potato, pickled herrings, hard-boiled egg, onion and chopped cornichons, bound together with mayo.’
    • ‘The bulk of the diet of large congers is made up of small fish, from cod and hake in deep water to mackerel and herring in shallow water.’
    • ‘He is said to have died of a surfeit of Rhenish wine and pickled herrings, though it may more likely have been plague, of which there was a severe outbreak in 1592.’
    • ‘A classic Japanese cooking technique, therefore, is to simmer strong fish such as herring and mackerel in sake.’
    • ‘When a humpback is corralling herring and other fishes, the net may be 150 feet wide.’
    • ‘Forget salmon, the herring is the sea king for these oceanically compromised times.’
    • ‘Like anchovies and herrings, they are small, primitive fish belonging to the group known as clupeoids.’
    • ‘The moon shone like herrings in the water.’
    • ‘Mrs Ward was reputed to have the best herrings outside the fish markets in Dublin and Wicklow.’
    • ‘These fatty acids are found in oily fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines, salmon and trout.’
    • ‘There were also some roasted peppers in oil and tons of garlic, and a very tempting looking plate of pickled herrings.’
    • ‘This used to be the best time to catch fat, oily herrings to kipper.’
    • ‘Whales and dolphins have followed the herring and sprat shoals into the harbour.’


Old English hǣring, hēring, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch haring and German Hering.