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winter fish, n.

Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Formed within English, by compounding. Etymons: winter n.1, fish n.1
In later use Scottish (now rare).

  Fish, esp. ling ( Molva molva) or cod ( Gadus morhua), that is dried or cured for use in winter.

1343–4   in C. M. Woolgar Househ. Accts. Medieval Eng. (1992) I. 231   Pur iC de dure pessoun qe est appele winturfizs xiii s.
1391   in L. T. Smith Exped. Prussia & Holy Land Earl Derby (1894) 21 (MED)   Pro c stoks wynterffysh, xxvj s. viij d.
1466–7   in N. S. B. Gras Early Eng. Customs Syst. (1918) 611 (MED)   Pro iiii lastis stokfissh'..vii last wynterfissh'..xx last titlynges et croplynges.
a1500   Tracts Eng. Weights & Meas. 17 in Camden Misc. (1929) XV (MED)   Stocke fyssche dyuers sorts..There ys..somer fyssch that go ii for a fyssh and dim. att xxx s. the c; also wynter fyssh that ys a pleyne gyll fyssch for xx s. the c or undir.
?1675   W. Poole in P. E. Pope Fish into Wine (2004) ix. 338   The fish then catcht if well cured proves the best of all the yeares and is called winter fish.
1755   W. Douglass Summary State Brit. Settlements N.-Amer. (new ed.) I. 302   Their fifth and last fare is in autumn to Isle of Sables, these are called winter fish.
1809   A. Edmondston View Zetland Islands I. 240   Ling..are known by the name of winter fish.
1867   W. H. Smyth Sailor's Word-bk. 735   Winter-fish, this term generally alludes to cured cod and ling.
1905   A. R. Forbes Gaelic Names Beasts 371   The ling, as is generally known, is in season during winter and spring, and a fish caught before 12th August is called a ‘winter fish’.
1989   R. A. Watt Sc. Dial. Fish & Trade Names 21   Winter fish, air dried cod. (Kincardineshire).
2004   L. Johnson in New Shetlander No. 228 31/2   A hunder an sixty-six cod dey wir gotten, a guid supply o winter fish.

1343–4—2004(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, September 2017).