Smelt Smelt, n. [AS. smelt, smylt; akin to Dan. smelt.] 1. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of small silvery salmonoid fishes of the genus {Osmerus} and allied genera, which ascend rivers to spawn, and sometimes become landlocked in lakes. They are esteemed as food, and have a peculiar odor and taste. [1913 Webster]

Note: The most important species are the European smelt ({Osmerus eperlans}) (called also {eperlan}, {sparling}, and {spirling}), the Eastern American smelt ({O. mordax}), the California smelt ({O. thalichthys}), and the surf smelt ({Hypomesus olidus}). The name is loosely applied to various other small fishes, as the lant, the California tomcod, the spawn eater, the silverside. [1913 Webster]

2. Fig.: A gull; a simpleton. [Obs.] --Beau. & Fl. [1913 Webster]

{Sand smelt} (Zo["o]l.), the silverside. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • sparling — [spär′liŋ] n. pl. sparling or sparlings [ME sperlynge < MFr esperlinge < MDu spirlinc, orig. dim. of spīr, a small point, grass shoot: see SPIRE2] a European smelt (Osmerus eperlanus) …   English World dictionary

  • Sparling — Spar ling, n. [Akin to G. spierling, spiering, D. spiering: cf. F. [ e]perlan.] (Zo[ o]l.) (a) The European smelt ({Osmerus eperlanus}). (b) A young salmon. (c) A tern. [Scot. & Prov. Eng.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sparling — /spahr ling/, n., pl. sparlings, (esp. collectively) sparling. the European smelt, Osmerus eperlanus. [1275 1325; ME sperlynge < OF esperlinge < Gmc; cf. G Spierling] * * * …   Universalium

  • Sparling — Recorded as Sparling, Sperling, and Spurling, this is an English surname of pre 7th century origins. It is believed to originate from the Olde English personal name Spyrling of obscure meaning. It is probably a diminutive of Spearr , a personal… …   Surnames reference

  • sparling — noun an edible smelt (fish) which migrates into fresh water to spawn. [Osmerus eperlanus.] Origin ME: shortening of OFr. esperlinge, of Gmc origin …   English new terms dictionary

  • sparling — spar·ling …   English syllables

  • sparling — spar•ling [[t]ˈspɑr lɪŋ[/t]] n. pl. lings, (esp. collectively) ling. ich the European smelt Osmerus eperlanus[/ex] • Etymology: 1275–1325; ME sperlynge < OF esperlinge < Gmc; cf. G Spierling …   From formal English to slang

  • sparling — /ˈspalɪŋ/ (say spahling) noun the European smelt, Osmerus eperlanus. {Middle English sperlyng(e), from Old French esperlinge, of Germanic origin} …   Australian English dictionary

  • sparling — n. a European smelt, Osmerus eperlanus. Etymology: ME f. OF esperlinge, of Gmc orig …   Useful english dictionary

  • sparling fowl — noun Etymology: sparling dialect England : merganser …   Useful english dictionary

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