Middle English Dictionary Entry

hē̆ring n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) A herring Clupea harengus; (b) red ~, smoked herring; whit ~, herring salted but not smoked; (c) ~ barel, a cask for herring; ~ breder (carter), one who roasts (hauls) herring [see surnames]; ~ fare, lond ~ fare [cp. MDu. hārinc-vaert], a voyage to catch herring; also, the catch of herring made in such a voyage; ~ hed, a herring's head; ~ hous, a shed for storing herring; ~ mongere, a seller of herring [see surnames]; ~ saim, herring fat, herring oil; ~ silver, a money rent paid in lieu of an orig. payment in herrings; ~ time [OE hǣring-tīma], the season for catching herring.
In proverbs & proverbial expressions, esp. as a type of something common or trivial; ~ cobbe (tail), a herring's head (tail), the least bit, at all; ~ in maise, herring packed in a barrel.
In surnames & place names.