One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A commercially valuable hake of coastal waters of southern Africa.
Merluccius capensis, family Merlucciidae
- ‘Elf, called shad in KwaZuluNatal, are streamlined, silvery, olive-green fish sought after by anglers, but hake often called stockfish, is South Africa's most popular table fish.’
2mass noun Cod or a similar fish split and dried in the open air without salt.
- ‘In 1333 he and an associate were described as ‘king's merchants’ when licensed to take corn to Norway to trade for stockfish.’’
- ‘In 1336 he freighted a ship of a fellow Lynn merchant (who also frequented the Norwegian market) to fetch stockfish and victuals from Norway; his own ships may have already been absent on voyages.’
- ‘We can remember fantastic stockfishes prepared in local restaurants and humbles inns.’
- ‘A local firm makes rhubarb squash, and a guide to eating out in Tromsø promises ‘fresh raw ingredients, such as goat steak, Arctic char in Pernod, seal meat lasagne and grilled stockfish.’’
- ‘Thomas had already, in May 1332, obtained a protection to assist him in taking 500 quarters of wheat to Norway to trade for stockfish, and he obtained similar export licences in March 1333 and January 1335.’
- ‘Just as Cologne traded Rhine and Mosel wines to the Baltic and the Low Countries in exchange for herrings and stockfish, Frankfurt did the same with Alsace wines.’
- ‘To be brief, both salt cod and stockfish have their origins in early medieval times.’
- ‘Kristiansund's history is based on salted stockfish.’
- ‘Even before the ninth century, stockfish was produced in substantial amounts in northern Norway, especially around the cod spawning grounds off the Lofoten and Vesteralen Islands.’
Middle English (in stockfish (sense 2)): from Middle Low German, Middle Dutch stokvisch, of unknown origin; stockfish (sense 1) (early 19th century) from South African Dutch.
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