Main definitions of gill in English

: gill1gill2gill3gill4

gill1

noun

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

    • ‘In any fish, when blood cycles through the gills to receive oxygen, it also cools to the temperature of the surrounding water.’
    • ‘In fishes and some amphibians, the slits bear gills and are used for gas exchange.’
    • ‘Barracuda often pump their jaws in order to move water past their gills.’
    • ‘Otherwise they have to keep swimming to force oxygenated water past their gills.’
    • ‘In fish, the branchial apparatus forms a system of gills for exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide between the blood and the water.’
    • ‘To make matters worse, fish have large respiratory membranes, the gills, which expose a huge amount of surface area to the watery medium.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In fishes there is equivalent ‘ventilation’ of the gills with water.’
    • ‘Cold, foamy water hushed over the rocks, and the gills of the fishes that swam in it caressed the rocks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Fish start to suffocate out of water and their gills may collapse and bleed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some others, like the Siamese fighting fish, are capable of breathing air in addition to extracting oxygen from the water with their gills.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At fish-cleaning stations, cleaner fish nibble the parasites from the gills and mouths of fishes much larger than they are.’
    • ‘These fish do not have gills or opercula (gill coverings) like most bony fishes.’
    • ‘Apparently squirting fresh water into the gills gets them off.’
    • ‘When in the water, they breathe with their gills as most fish do.’
    • ‘Fish, for example, pump water across their gills with their head muscles.’
    • ‘Fish with torn gills die as inevitably as you would if your lungs were shredded.’
    1. 1.1 An organ similar to a gill in an invertebrate animal.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An agaric, such as the common field mushroom, has gills in the form of fine, radiating ‘plates’.’
    • ‘He squatted next to her and ran his fingers gently along the gills of one of the large mushrooms.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 3The wattles or dewlap of a fowl.

    1. 3.1gills The flesh below a person's jaws and ears.
      ‘we stuffed ourselves to the gills with scrambled eggs and toast’

verb

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

    • ‘Before they put fillet knives in front of American anglers, most of us gutted, gilled and scaled all of our fish.’
    • ‘Invaluable for tailing, gilling and holding strange 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!’’
    • ‘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.

Phrases

  • green around (or at) the gills

    • (of a person) sickly-looking.

      • ‘They do great cocktails and shooters, and if you're feeling a little green around the gills you might want to pop to the loo - where the toilet seats are lime coloured too.’
      • ‘He was a little green around the gills but he was grinning from ear to ear through sleepy eyes.’
      • ‘The very sight makes some men grow green around the gills, hair standing up on their manes like an alley cat meeting a bulldog in a dark alley.’
      • ‘‘You're looking a little green around the gills!’’
      • ‘The pies keep coming, and some of the contestants are starting to look a little green around the gills.’
      • ‘That's good because several of my traveling mates appear a bit green around the gills and white in the face this morning.’
      • ‘After spending a few hours at the boardwalk, we headed for home, all of us tired, a few a bit green around the gills.’
      • ‘He was swaying on his feet, a bit green around the gills.’
      • ‘Wall Street is no place for the squeamish, but nowadays, even many long-term, die-hard blue chippers are looking green around the gills.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old Norse.

Pronunciation

gill

/ɡil//ɡɪl/

Main definitions of gill in English

: gill1gill2gill3gill4

gill2

noun

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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rustic enough that the notice over the bar still claimed to serve spirits in measures of 1/6 gill.’
    • ‘Her cheese pudding has an ounce and a half of breadcrumbs, an ounce of cheese, one gill of milk and half an egg.’
    • ‘A tot is a sixth, a fifth, a quarter or a third of a gill of whisky.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

gill

/jil//dʒɪl/

Main definitions of gill in English

: gill1gill2gill3gill4

gill3

noun

British
  • 1A deep ravine, especially a wooded one.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 A 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
      View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

gill

/ɡɪl//ɡil/

Main definitions of gill in English

: gill1gill2gill3gill4

gill4

(also jill)

noun

  • 1A female ferret.

    Compare with hob (sense 1)
    • ‘A female ferret is called a jill while a male is called a hob.’
  • 2derogatory A young woman; a sweetheart.

Origin

Late Middle English: abbreviation of the given name Gillian.

Pronunciation

gill

/ɡil//ɡɪl/