Mack·er·el n. Zool. Any species of the genus Scomber of the family Scombridae, and of several related genera. They are finely formed and very active oceanic fishes. Most of them are highly prized for food.
Note: ☞ The common mackerel (Scomber scombrus), which inhabits both sides of the North Atlantic, is one of the most important food fishes. It is mottled with green and blue. The Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus), of the American coast, is covered with bright yellow circular spots.
Bull mackerel, Chub mackerel. Zool. See under Chub.
Frigate mackerel. See under Frigate.
Horse mackerel . See under Horse.
Mackerel bird Zool., the wryneck; -- so called because it arrives in England at the time when mackerel are in season.
Mackerel cock Zool., the Manx shearwater; -- so called because it precedes the appearance of the mackerel on the east coast of Ireland.
Mackerel guide. Zool. See Garfish (a).
Mackerel gull Zool. any one of several species of gull which feed upon or follow mackerel, as the kittiwake.
Mackerel midge Zool., a very small oceanic gadoid fish of the North Atlantic. It is about an inch and a half long and has four barbels on the upper jaw. It is now considered the young of the genus Onos, or Motella.
Mackerel plow, an instrument for creasing the sides of lean mackerel to improve their appearance. --Knight.
Mackerel shark Zool., the porbeagle.
Mackerel sky, or Mackerel-back sky, a sky flecked with small white clouds; a cirro-cumulus. See Cloud.
Mackerel sky and mare's-tails
Make tall ships carry low sails. --Old Rhyme.
1. Originally, a vessel of the Mediterranean propelled by sails and by oars. The French, about 1650, transferred the name to larger vessels, and by 1750 it had been appropriated for a class of war vessels intermediate between corvettes and ships of the line. Frigates, from about 1750 to 1850, had one full battery deck and, often, a spar deck with a lighter battery. They carried sometimes as many as fifty guns. After the application of steam to navigation steam frigates of largely increased size and power were built, and formed the main part of the navies of the world till about 1870, when the introduction of ironclads superseded them. [Formerly spelled frigat and friggot.]
2. Any small vessel on the water. [Obs.]
Frigate bird Zool., a web-footed rapacious bird, of the genus Fregata; -- called also man-of-war bird, and frigate pelican. Two species are known; that of the Southern United States and West Indies is F. aquila. They are remarkable for their long wings and powerful flight. Their food consists of fish which they obtain by robbing gulls, terns, and other birds, of their prey. They are related to the pelicans.
Frigate mackerel Zool., an oceanic fish (Auxis Rochei) of little or no value as food, often very abundant off the coast of the United States.
Frigate pelican. Zool. Same as Frigate bird.