AskDefine | Define sardine

Dictionary Definition



1 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]

User Contributed Dictionary



from French sardine (compare Spanish sardina, sarda, Italian sardina, sardella), Latin sardina, sarda; so called from island of Sardinia, Greek Sardō


  1. Any one of several small species of herring which are commonly preserved in olive oil or in tins for food, especially the pilchard, or European sardine (Clupea pichardus). 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.


  • Czech: sardinka
  • German: Sardine
  • Greek: σαρδέλα (sardéla)
  • Hebrew:
  • Norwegian: sardin
  • Polish: sardynka
  • Turkish: sardalya
  • Ukrainian: сардинка



From sardina.


  • /saʁ.din/


fr-noun f



  1. Plural of sardina

Extensive Definition

For the hide and seek-like game, see Hide and seek.
Sardines, or pilchards, are a group of several types of small, oily fish related to herrings, family Clupeidae. Sardines were named after the island of Sardinia, where they were once in abundance.
The terms are not precise, and the usual meanings vary by region; for instance, to many people a sardine is a young, European pilchard. A generalisation is that if the fish is under 4" long (10 cm) it is classed as a sardine, and if larger than 4 inches it is classed as a pilchard. The FAO/WHO Codex standard for canned sardines cites 21 species that may be classed as sardines; They may also be eviscerated before packing (typically the larger varieties), or not; if not eviscerated they should be free of undigested or partially digested food or feces. The close packing of sardines in the can has led to their being used metaphorically for any situation where people or objects are crowded together; for instance, in a bus or subway car.

Kerala, India

Sardines (Sardinella longiceps), locally called maththi or chala, is a favourite of Keralites. However, the fish is typically used fresh and canned sardines are not popular. Fried sardines are a much sought after delicacy. Keralites regard 'mathi' as an intelligence-boosting supplement. Chala is cheaper in Kerala (compared to larger fish like the Seer or Pomfret) making it a common man's delicacy. Chala, along with tapioca, is a favourite food of Keralites. It is a pelagic fish, caught in fairly large quantities using a purse seine or a ring seine.

United Kingdom (Cornwall)

Pilchard fishing and processing was a thriving industry in Cornwall from around 1750 to around 1880, after which it went into an almost terminal decline. However, as of 2007, stocks are improving (q.v. River Cottage: Gone Fishing 22/11/08).
The industry has featured in numerous works of art, particularly by Stanhope Forbes and other Newlyn School artists.
A traditional Cornish pilchard dish is stargazy pie or starry gazy pie.

Spain (Canary Islands)

In the Timanfaya Volcanic National Park on Lanzarote, a popular tourist menu is to eat sardines, freshly caught that morning, grilled over the heat from a volcanic vent.


Sardines play an important role in Portuguese culture. Having been a people who depended heavily on the sea for food and commerce, the Portuguese have a predilection for fish in their popular festivities. The most important is Saint Anthony's day, 13th June, when the biggest popular festival takes place in Lisbon, taking the people to the streets where grilled sardines are the snack of choice. Almost every place in Portugal, from Figueira da Foz to Portalegre, or from Póvoa de Varzim to Olhão has the summertime popular tradition of eating grilled sardines (sardinhas assadas).


Fishing for sardela or sardina (Sardina pilchardus) on the Croatian Adriatic coasts of Dalmatia and Istria is an ongoing activity tracing its roots back thousands of years. The region was part of the Roman Empire, then largely a Venetian dominion, and has always been sustained through fishing mainly sardines. All along the coast there are many towns that promote the age-old practice of fishing by lateen sail boats for tourism and on festival occasions. Today this tradition is also continued by many producers.

Healthy Food

Sardines are also healthy and considered a "brain food." These fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which can help maintain a healthy heart. Recent studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids slow the progression of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. These fatty acids can also help control blood sugar level. Not only are sardines packed with omega-3 fatty acids, but they are also a good source of vitamin D, calcium and B12.


sardine in Asturian: Parrocha
sardine in Bulgarian: Сардина
sardine in Catalan: Sardina
sardine in Welsh: Sardîn
sardine in German: Sardine
sardine in Spanish: Sardina pilchardus
sardine in Basque: Sardina
sardine in Persian: ساردین
sardine in French: Sardine
sardine in Galician: Sardiña
sardine in Ido: Sardino
sardine in Indonesian: Sarden
sardine in Italian: Sardina pilchardus
sardine in Hebrew: סרדין
sardine in Haitian: Sadin
sardine in Luxembourgish: Sardinn
sardine in Hungarian: Szardínia (hal)
sardine in Malayalam: മത്തി
sardine in Dutch: Sardine
sardine in Japanese: イワシ
sardine in Norwegian: Sardin
sardine in Norwegian Nynorsk: Sardin
sardine in Occitan (post 1500): Sarda
sardine in Polish: Sardynka
sardine in Portuguese: Sardinha
sardine in Quechua: Sardina
sardine in Russian: Сардина
sardine in Sicilian: Palamita
sardine in Simple English: Sardine
sardine in Finnish: Sardiinit
sardine in Swedish: Sardin
sardine in Turkish: Sardalya
sardine in Chinese: 沙丁魚
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