One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large edible billfish of warm seas that is a highly prized game fish and typically reaches a great weight.
Genera Makaira and Tetrapterus, family Istiophoridae: several species, including the striped marlin (T. audax)
- ‘The riskiest fish are large and predatory such as tuna, marlin and swordfish.’
- ‘The blue marlin and its cousins, the white marlin, swordfish and sailfish, bring up the rear.’
- ‘Although the crew reckoned it was a poor day, we still caught two good sailfish, a white marlin and a barracuda.’
- ‘Billfish fall into four groups, treated under marlin, sailfish, spearfish, and swordfish.’
- ‘In turn, the squid is preyed upon by large fish such as marlin and swordfish, and it's a main staple of sperm whales.’
Early 20th century: from marlinspike (with reference to its pointed snout).
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