<zoology> Any species of the genus Scomber, and of several related genera. They are finely formed and very active oceanic fishes. most of them are highly prized for food.

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.

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)

Origin: OF. Maquerel, F. Maquereau (LL. Macarellus), prob. For maclereau, fr. L. Macula a spot, in allusion to the markings on the fish. See Mail armor.

(01 Mar 1998)