Word Origin & History
O.E. hering (Anglian), hæring (W. Saxon), from W.Gmc. *kheringgaz (cf. O.Fris. hereng, M.Du. herinc, Ger. Hering), of unknown origin, perhaps related to O.E. har "gray, hoar," from the color, or to O.H.G. heri "host, multitude" from its large schools. Herring-bone is first recorded 1659 as a type
of stitch; 1905 as a type of cirrocumulus cloud. The Battle of the Herrings (Fr. baraille des harengs) is the popular name for the battle at Rouvrai, Feb. 12, 1492, fought in defense of a convoy of provisions, mostly herrings and other "lenten stuffe."