One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small marine fish of the herring family, widely caught for food and fish products.
Sprattus and other genera, family Clupeidae: several species, in particular S. sprattus of European inshore waters
- ‘This shoal of sprats was found within 2m of the steps at Weasel Loch.’
- ‘Maryland scientists are instead trying to rebuild native oyster stocks by building new beds out of shucked oyster shells and seeding them with native sprat, or baby oysters.’
- ‘The smoking of salmon, prawns and sprats is done ‘round the back’ and this is the food you should stick to here.’
- ‘On it you feel like a sprat swimming beside a whale.’
- ‘Or you can dangle a hopeful, lazy fishing line over the side of waters so plentiful that even I, the world's worst fisherman, managed to catch a sprat.’
- ‘However, they are now firmly identified, at least so far as Britain is concerned, as the fry of various fish of the herring family, but mainly of the herring itself and the sprat.’
- ‘The catch can consist of eels, cod or sprat but is mainly shrimp and these are sold from Brendon's cottage on the beach.’
- ‘Marinated Baltic sprats were delicate, their sharp briny taste balanced by an accompanying vinaigrette of potatoes, beetroot, onions, dill pickles, eggs, and mayonnaise.’
- ‘As the EU enlarges into the Balkans, the ratio of sprats to sharks will increase.’
- ‘I dropped into the water and was immediately surrounded by a swirling shoal of tiny sprats.’
- ‘There were other fish swimming around among the dead sprat so there was nothing wrong with the quality of the water.’
- ‘There is no true sprat in Asian waters, although the name sprat is sometimes loosely applied to certain small fish of the herring family which do occur there.’
- ‘Others say it's the healthy levels of sprat and herring which are providing them with plenty of food.’
- ‘These minerals also rise abruptly to the surface and the result is a sea rich in plankton and other microfauna, teeming with everything that feeds on them in turn, from sprats and squid to tuna and dolphins.’
- ‘Often what seems like a shallow reef is actually a shoal of minuscule sprats.’
- ‘Commercial fishing includes salmon, herring, cod, plaice, crustaceans and mollusks, mackerel, sprat, eel, lobster, shrimp, and prawns.’
- ‘However, if the diet is extremely rich in fish oils, for example, herring, mackerel, sardines and sprats, it may not be necessary to take hemp oil as well.’
- ‘Frank Hederman smokes his eels, sprats, mackerel, trout and mussels over beech rather than oak, which gives his products a mild, subtle flavour and makes them just about the best that money can buy.’
- ‘They may disappear for a few weeks in August, before returning with a vengeance to gorge on the sprats.’
- ‘Clupeid fish, like herring, anchovies, and sprats, can detect sound frequencies up to around 40 kilohertz, way beyond the hearing range of most other fish.’
- 1.1 Any of a number of small fishes that resemble the true sprats, e.g. the sand eel.
- ‘The crabs, which are natural scavengers, are being fed with dead sand eels and sprats.’
- ‘‘Wild puffins normally eat live whitebait, sprats and sand eels which they dive in the sea for,’ said Mrs Platts.’
Late 16th century: variant of Old English sprot, of unknown origin.
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