c.1430, from L. sardina,
from Gk. sardine, sardinos,
often said to be from Sardo
"Sardinia" (see Sardinia
), the Mediterranean island, near which the fish were probably caught and from which they were exported. But cf. Klein: "It is hardly probable that the Greeks would have obtained fish from so far as Sardinia at a time relatively so early as that of Aristotle, from whom Athenaios quotes a passage in which the fish sardinos
is mentioned." Colloquial phrase packed like sardines
(in a tin) is recorded from 1911.