white bait

whitebait

[hwahyt-beyt, wahyt-]
noun, plural whitebait.
1.
a young sprat or herring.
2.
Cookery. any small, delicate fish cooked whole without being cleaned, especially the sprat.

Origin:
1750–60; white + bait, so called from use as bait

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World English Dictionary
whitebait (ˈwaɪtˌbeɪt)
 
n
1.  the young of herrings, sprats, etc, cooked and eaten whole as a delicacy
2.  any of various small silvery fishes, such as Galaxias attenuatus of Australia and New Zealand and Allosmerus elongatus of North American coastal regions of the Pacific
 
[C18: from its formerly having been used as bait]

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