One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: any of several sciaenid fishes found in the Mediterranean (obsolete). Later (in form Sciaena): the genus containing these, once comprising all sciaenid fishes but now restricted to a small group that includes the brown meagre, Sciaena umbra.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Philemon Holland (1552–1637), translator. From classical Latin sciaena a sea fish, perhaps the meagre (Pliny) from ancient Greek σκίαινα a sea fish, perhaps the meagre or the umbrina from σκιά shadow + -αινα, suffix forming nouns; apparently so called on account of its dark colour.
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