mackerel

(redirected from mackerels)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

holy cow

An exclamation of surprise, shock, or astonishment. Holy cow, the bill for that dinner is nearly $200! We won the lottery? Holy cow, that's amazing news!
See also: cow, holy

holy mackerel

An exclamation of surprise, shock, or astonishment. Holy mackerel, the bill for that dinner is nearly $200! We won the lottery? Holy mackerel, that's amazing news!
See also: holy, mackerel

a sprat to catch a mackerel

A small amount of effort or money to expend or risk that has the potential to yield much greater benefits or rewards. Often used after the verb "set," meaning to use as bait; a sprat is a much smaller fish than a mackerel, so you use the smaller as bait to catch the larger. Primarily heard in UK. When big retailers like them offer cash-back prizes, they are setting sprat to catch a mackerel—the money they make from sucking in customers more than outweighs what they spend in actual payouts.
See also: catch, mackerel

Holy mackerel!

Inf. Wow! Holy mackerel! What a beautiful day! Holy mackerel! What's this? A new car?
See also: holy

holy cow

Also, holy mackerel or Moses or moly or smoke . An exclamation of surprise, astonishment, delight, or dismay, as in Holy cow, I forgot the wine, or Holy mackerel, you won! or Holy Moses, here comes the teacher! or Holy smoke, I didn't know you were here too. The oldest of these slangy expletives uses mackerel, dating from about 1800; the one with Moses dates from about 1850 and cow from about 1920. None has any literal significance, and moly is a neologism devised to rhyme with "holy" and possibly a euphemism for "Moses."
See also: cow, holy

a sprat to catch a mackerel

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If you describe something you do as a sprat to catch a mackerel, you mean that it involves a small cost or amount of effort but it will bring you great rewards or benefits. Setting a sprat to catch a mackerel, the store is offering in its summer sale a chrome blender for £99 (was £149) to those who spend £50 or more. Note: A sprat is a type of small fish and a mackerel is a larger fish. Both fish may be eaten.
See also: catch, mackerel

a sprat to catch a mackerel

a small expenditure made, or a small risk taken, in the hope of a large or significant gain. British
A sprat is a small sea fish, while a mackerel is rather larger. The phrase has been in use since the mid 19th century and is also found with whale in the place of mackerel .
See also: catch, mackerel

(be) a ˌsprat to catch a ˈmackerel

(informal) (be) a fairly small or unimportant thing which is offered or risked in the hope of getting something bigger or better: The competition and prize of a free car is a sprat to catch a mackerel. The publicity will mean good business for months to come.
Sprat and mackerel are both types of fish. Sprats are very small.
See also: catch, mackerel

Holy mackerel!

(ˈholi ˈmækrəl)
exclam. Wow! Holy mackerel! What a day!
See also: holy
References in periodicals archive ?
The EU has used its new instrument for the first time for overfishing of herring, however, rather than mackerel. Regulation (EU) 793/2013, adopted on 20 August 2013, has imposed trade sanctions on the Faroe Islands that prohibit them from exporting Atlanto-Scandian herring and mackerel to the EU and from using European ports, save for emergencies.
Knowing that mackerel and eels swimming in water generate and thus experience different hydrodynamic environments, the duo simulated these different environments by varying tail beat frequencies and fluid viscosity (syrupiness).
For example, a lamprey that needed to swim faster could gain efficiency if it changed its shape or swimming style to mimic a mackerel.
And a mackerel that had to move slowly would be more efficient if it could change shape or swimming style to mimic a lamprey.
"From these experiments, we can deduce that real mackerel and eel's swimming styles are perfectly adapted to the hydrodynamic environments that they inhabit," said Sotiropoulos.
For the king mackerel 20-to 30-pound tackle is recommended.
Spanish mackerel, much smaller than the smoker kings, can be caught on 6- to 12-pound spinning or conventional tackle.
Listen to your VHF radio to help you get an edge on what depth or area the king mackerel may be holding in.
Many of the piers in South Florida have seen 50-plus-pound king mackerel come over the rail in the past, all caught on baits that I have mentioned.
Under the new regulations, a vessel in the EEZ or having fished in the EEZ with a drift gill net aboard may not possess Spanish mackerel. Similar restrictions apply to the possession of Gulf group king mackerel within its seasonal boundaries as shown on the other side.