noun, plural (especially collectively) sar·dine, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) sar·dines.

  1. the pilchard, Sardina pilchardus, often preserved in oil and used for food.
  2. any of various similar, closely related fishes of the herring family Clupeidae.


  1. sard.

noun plural -dines or -dine

  1. any of various small marine food fishes of the herring family, esp a young pilchardSee also sild
  2. like sardines very closely crowded together


  1. another name for sard

n.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 cf. Klein: “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. see packed in like sardines.

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