gill

1 [gil]
noun
1.
the respiratory organ of aquatic animals, as fish, that breathe oxygen dissolved in water.
2.
Also called lamella. one of the radiating vertical plates on the underside of the cap of an agaric mushroom. See diag. under mushroom.
verb (used with object)
4.
to gut or clean (fish).
Idioms
5.
to catch (fish) by the gills in a gill net.
6.
green/white around the gills, somewhat pale, as from being sickly, nervous, or frightened: When he heard how much the bill was, he looked a little green around the gills.
7.
to the gills, Informal. fully; completely; totally: After that big meal we were all stuffed to the gills.

Origin:
1300–50; Middle English gile < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse gjǫlnar < *gelnō; cognate with Swed gäl, Danish gælle, Norwegian gjelle gill

gill-less, adjective
gill-like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged

gill

2 [jil]
noun
a unit of liquid measure equal to ¼ pint (118.2937 ml).

Origin:
1225–75; Middle English gille < Old French: vat, tub < Late Latin gello, gillo water pot

gill

3 [gil]
noun British.
1.
a deep rocky cleft or wooded ravine forming the course of a stream.
2.
a stream; brook; rivulet.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English gille < Old Norse gil

gill

4 [jil]
noun
a girl or young woman; sweetheart.

Origin:
1400–50; late Middle English gil(le) generic use of Gil(le), short form of Gillian; see Gillian

gill

5 [gil] Textiles.
noun
1.
a faller used in the combing process, generally for only the highest-quality fibers.
verb (used with object)
2.
to comb (fibers) with a gill.

Origin:
1830–40; perhaps special use of gill1

Gill

[gil for 1; jil for 2]
noun
1.
a male given name.
2.
a female given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
gill1 (ɡɪl)
 
n
1.  the respiratory organ in many aquatic animals, consisting of a membrane or outgrowth well supplied with blood vessels. External gills occur in tadpoles, some molluscs, etc; internal gills, within gill slits, occur in most fishesRelated: branchial
2.  any of the radiating leaflike spore-producing structures on the undersurface of the cap of a mushroom
 
vb
3.  to catch (fish) or (of fish) to be caught in a gill net
4.  (tr) to gut (fish)
 
Related: branchial
 
[C14: of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish gäl, Danish gjælle, Greek khelunē lip]
 
gilled1
 
adj
 
'gill-less1
 
adj
 
'gill-like1
 
adj

gill2 (dʒɪl)
 
n
1.  a unit of liquid measure equal to one quarter of a pint
2.  dialect (Northern English) half a pint, esp of beer
 
[C14: from Old French gille vat, tub, from Late Latin gillō cooling vessel for liquids, of obscure origin]

gill or ghyll3 (ɡɪl)
 
n
1.  a narrow stream; rivulet
2.  a wooded ravine
3.  (capital when part of place name) a deep natural hole in rock; pothole: Gaping Gill
 
[C11: from Old Norse gil steep-sided valley]
 
ghyll or ghyll3
 
n
 
[C11: from Old Norse gil steep-sided valley]

gill4 (dʒɪl)
 
n
1.  archaic a girl or sweetheart
2.  dialect Also spelt: jill a female ferret
3.  an archaic or dialect name for ground ivy
 
[C15: special use of Gill, short for Gillian, girl's name]

Gill (ɡɪl)
 
n
(Arthur) Eric (Rowton). 1882--1940, British sculptor, engraver, and typographer: his sculptures include the Stations of the Cross in Westminster Cathedral, London

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

gill
"organ of breathing in fishes," c.1300, from O.N. giolnar "gills;" O.Dan. -gæln (in fiske-gæln "fish gill").

gill
"liquid measure" (commonly a half-pint), 1275, from O.Fr. gille "a wine measure," from M.L. gillo "earthenware jar," of uncertain origin.

Gill
fem. proper name, see Jill.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
gill   (gĭl)  Pronunciation Key 


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  1. The organ that enables most aquatic animals to take dissolved oxygen from the water. It consists of a series of membranes that have many small blood vessels. Oxygen passes into the bloodstream and carbon dioxide passes out of it as water flows across the membranes.

  2. One of the thin strips of tissue on the underside of the cap of many species of basidiomycete fungi. Gills produce the spore-bearing structures known as basidia.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

gill

in biology, type of respiratory organ found in many aquatic animals, including a number of worms, nearly all mollusks and crustaceans, some insect larvae, all fishes, and a few amphibians. The gill consists of branched or feathery tissue richly supplied with blood vessels, especially near the gill surface, facilitating the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide with the surrounding water. The gills may be enclosed in cavities, through which the water is often forcibly pumped, or they may project from the body into the water.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Commercial fisheries there operate year round, primarily harvesting with
  trawlers and gill nets.
Many have been snared by gill and trawl nets with only a few hundred surviving.
While a stingray's mouth is on the underside of its body, along with its
  nostrils and gill slits, its eyes are on the top.
They do this work at night, patrolling gill nets from sundown until sunup.
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