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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ On the other side of the building turtles are packed like sardines into more tanks.
▪ You should see them this afternoon, packed inside like sardine can.
▪ Everyone was packed in like sardines and she was quite unable to move.
▪ Breakfast on the Franklin, dinner out of a sardine can, supper at the Claiendon.
▪ Dinner was sardines and stew, made palatable by two lots of vodka.
▪ Iced sardines are trodden underfoot to soften them up.
▪ Squeezed like despondent sardines, they looked as if they were huddling for warmth.
▪ Tuna, salmon, and sardines are the most frequently purchased kinds of canned fish.
▪ With bigger fish in serious decline, mackerel, sardines and anchovies are now the main targets.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Sardine \Sar"dine\ (? or ?; 277), n. [F. sardine (cf. Sp. sardina, sarda, It. sardina, sardella), L. sardina, sarda; cf. Gr. ?, ?; so called from the island of Sardinia, Gr. ?.] (Zo["o]l.) Any one of several small species of herring which are commonly preserved in olive oil for food, especially the pilchard, or European sardine ( Clupea pilchardus). The California sardine ( Clupea sagax) is similar. The American sardines of the Atlantic coast are mostly the young of the common herring and of the menhaden.


Sardine \Sar"dine\ (? or ?; 277), n. See Sardius.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

early 15c., from Latin sardina, from Greek sardine, sardinos, often said to be from Sardo "Sardinia" (see Sardinia), the Mediterranean island, near which the fish probably were caught and from which they were exported. But Klein writes, "It is hardly probable that the Greeks would have obtained fish from so far as Sardinia at a time relatively so early as that of Aristotle, from whom Athenaios quotes a passage in which the fish sardinos is mentioned." Colloquial phrase packed like sardines (in a tin) is recorded from 1911.


n. 1 Any one of several species of small herring which are commonly preserved in olive oil or in tins for food, especially the pilchard, or (vern: European sardine) ((taxlink Clupea pichardus species noshow=1)). The California sardine ((taxlink Clupea sagax species noshow=1)) is similar. The American sardines of the Atlantic coast are mostly the young of the common herring and of the menhaden. 2 (label en obsolete) carnelian 3 (label en figurative) Someone packed or crammed into a small space. vb. 1 to fish for sardines 2 to pack or cram together tightly.

  1. n. small fatty fish usually canned [syn: pilchard]

  2. any of various small edible herring or related food fishes frequently canned

  3. a deep orange-red variety of chalcedony [syn: sard, sardius]

  4. small fishes found in great schools along coasts of Europe; smaller and rounder than herring [syn: pilchard, Sardina pilchardus]


"Sardine" and "pilchard" are common names used to refer to various small, oily fish within the herring family of Clupeidae. The term sardine was first used in English during the early 15th century and may come from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which sardines were once abundant.

The terms "sardine" and "pilchard" are not precise, and what is meant depends on the region. The United Kingdom's Sea Fish Industry Authority, for example, classifies sardines as young pilchards. One criterion suggests fish shorter in length than are sardines, and larger fish are pilchards. The FAO/ WHO Codex standard for canned sardines cites 21 species that may be classed as sardines; FishBase, a comprehensive database of information about fish, calls at least six species "pilchard", over a dozen just "sardine", and many more with the two basic names qualified by various adjectives.

Usage examples of "sardine".

Special: Norwegian brisling sardines in Italian olive oil heaped on German schwarzbrot, with a layer of thinly sliced Spanish onion and a dollop of French dressing.

Camembert cheese heated slightly, just enough to spread, a Boston rarebit made with cream and egg left over scrambled eggs and cress, roast chicken and chopped dill pickles, cheese and chopped dates or figs, orange marmalade, and sardines pounded to a paste with a few drops of lemon juice added.

Sardines have lots of a nutrient called prostaglandin, which makes them effective against all kinds of diseases.

Out on the highway, truckers with their headlights on roared past, heading north with their tankers of oil, their loads of lumber, their freezer trucks full of sides of beef, or south with pulpwood, lobsters, or cans of sardines.

That was much more fun than this, he decided, not for the first time, as he sorted through the fish, pitching the sardines into a broad, shallow indentation in the rock that served, at low tide, as a holding-pool.

Dervish Ansar hacked their way on board and the passengers were driven like sardines before a barracuda to the far rail of the ungainly craft.

The flat concrete benches were ashine with bream and gilthead, pilchards, sardines and mackerel.

At one place he achieved two cups of shameless chickory, at another three sardines, at a third a dessert of elderly bananas.

The top estheticians and skin care experts in the world will tell you that the omega-3 fat in sardines and salmon is essential for young and healthy skin.

It was more for something to do than because I wanted fish for my dinner that when I saw a squadron of small kingfish charging a big shoal of sardine ahead of us, I gave the wheel to Jimmy.

Special: Norwegian brisling sardines in Italian olive oil heaped on German schwarzbrot, with a layer of thinly sliced Spanish onion and a dollop of French dressing.

On his way up to Logan, he played Follow, and a woman in a Honda Civic smashed head-on into a pickup truck as she foolishly tried to pass a semitruck at the crest of a hill in Sardine Canyon.

When the dressmakers were done, Tsybukin paid them not in cash but in goods from his shop, and they went away from him sadly, carrying bundles of stearine candles and sardines, which they did not need at all, and when they got out of the village into the fields, they sat down on a knoll and began to cry.

Even for a major teardown his ground crews would be sardined into the ship they would be tearing down and taken to a completely deserted beach world.

THE STAGE OF THE CORVIN CINEMA, AMID A CLUTTER Of orange peels and empty sardine tins and broken ammunition crates and discarded clothing and heaps of mimeographed tracts and assorted weaponry, the players in the drama waited for the curtain to rise on the third act.