mackerel

[mak-er-uhl, mak-ruhl]
noun, plural (especially collectively) mackerel (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) mackerels.
1.
a food fish, Scomber scombrus, of the North Atlantic, having wavy cross markings on the back.
3.
any of various similar fishes, as the Atka mackerel.

Origin:
1250–1300; Middle English < Old French, perhaps same word as Middle French maquerel pimp < Middle Dutch makelare broker (by metathesis), equivalent to makel(en) to bring together + -are -er1

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World English Dictionary
mackerel (ˈmækrəl)
 
n , pl -rel, -rels
1.  Compare Spanish mackerel a spiny-finned food fish, Scomber scombrus, occurring in northern coastal regions of the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean: family Scombridae. It has a deeply forked tail and a greenish-blue body marked with wavy dark bands on the back
2.  any of various other fishes of the family Scombridae, such as Scomber colias (Spanish mackerel) and S. japonicus (Pacific mackerel)
 
[C13: from Anglo-French, from Old French maquerel, of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

mackerel
c.1300, from O.Fr. maquerel (Fr. maquereau), of unknown origin but apparently identical with O.Fr. maquerel "pimp, procurer," from a Gmc. source (cf. M.Du. makelaer "broker," from O.Fris. mek "marriage," from maken "to make"). Connection is obscure but medieval people had imaginative notions of the sex
lives of animals. The fish approach the shore in shoals in summertime to spawn. Exclamation holy mackerel is attested from 1899.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

mackerel

any of a number of swift-moving, streamlined food and sport fishes found in temperate and tropical seas around the world, allied to tunas in the family Scombridae (order Perciformes). Mackerels are rounded and torpedo-shaped, with a slender, keeled tail base, a forked tail, and a row of small finlets behind the dorsal and anal fins. They are carnivorous fishes and feed on plankton, crustaceans, mollusks, fish eggs, and small fish. They congregate in schools and swim actively in the upper 25-30 fathoms of the water in the warmer months and then descend to as deep as 100 fathoms during the winter. They spawn during the spring and early summer along coastlines. Their eggs average 1 mm (0.04 inch) in diameter, are buoyant, and drift in the uppermost five fathoms of water. Mackerels are mostly caught by nets, rather than by angling.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Sushi is permissible except for mackerel, shark, tilefish and swordfish.
Your critics said you were a cold mackerel, driven by an insatiable craving to
  win the respect of the financial establishment.
No management regulations currently apply to cero mackerel.
King mackerel feed mostly on schooling fish, secondarily on crustaceans, and
  minimally on mollusks.
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