green around the gills


1 [gil]
the respiratory organ of aquatic animals, as fish, that breathe oxygen dissolved in water.
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)
to gut or clean (fish).
to catch (fish) by the gills in a gill net.
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.
to the gills, Informal. fully; completely; totally: After that big meal we were all stuffed to the gills.

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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gill1 (ɡɪl)
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
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]

gill2 (dʒɪl)
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)
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
[C11: from Old Norse gil steep-sided valley]

gill4 (dʒɪl)
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)
(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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Word Origin & History

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

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

fem. proper name, see Jill.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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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.

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Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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