from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A herring or salmon that has been split, salted, and smoked.
  • transitive verb To prepare (fish) by splitting, salting, and smoking.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Sprightly; gay; light-footed.
  • To prepare or cure, as salmon, herring, etc., by cleansing them well, giving them several dry rubbings of pepper and salt, and then drying them, either in the open air or artificially, by means of the smoke of peat or juniper-berries.
  • Hooked or beaked, as a spent salmon. See the quotation.
  • noun The male salmon when spent after the spawning season.
  • noun A salmon detained in fresh water.
  • noun A kippered herring; a herring for kippering.
  • noun A young man who has been initiated and is classed with the men of his tribe. See bora.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To cure, by splitting, salting, and smoking.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A salmon after spawning.
  • noun Scot. A salmon split open, salted, and dried or smoked; -- so called because salmon after spawning were usually so cured, not being good when fresh.
  • noun [Eng. & Scot.] the season in which fishing for salmon is forbidden.
  • adjective Prov. Eng. Amorous; also, lively; light-footed; nimble; gay; sprightly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A split, salted and smoked herring.
  • noun military An RAF World War II code name for patrols to protect fishing boats in the Irish and North Seas against attack from the air.
  • verb To prepare a herring or similar fish in that fashion.
  • adjective UK, dialect amorous
  • adjective UK, dialect lively; light-footed; nimble

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun salted and smoked herring


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English kipre, a male salmon in the spawning season, from Old English cypera, probably from cyperen, of copper, from coper, copper (because of the fish's color during the spawning season); see copper.]


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  • "The kipper was 'invented' in the 1840s by John Wodger - split, salted and smoked for long-term preservation."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 283

    January 18, 2017