Definition of eel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ēl/


1A snakelike fish with a slender elongated body and poorly developed fins, proverbial for its slipperiness.
  • Order Anguilliformes: many families, in particular Anguillidae, which comprises mainly freshwater eels that breed in the sea, including the common Anguilla anguilla of Europe and the American eel (A. rostrata).
Example sentences
  • Towards the centre of the pier pipefish, mussels galore, conger and common eels, ballan wrasse and cuttlefish lurked.
  • There are also rudd, bream, eels, gudgeon, crucian carp, tench, minnows, perch, sticklebacks, the odd trout, pike and barbel present.
  • If you hook the eel further back, the body of the eel will fold up along the shank of the hook causing it to spin and you can do without that hassle.
1.1Used in names of unrelated fishes that resemble the true eels, e.g., electric eel, moray eel.
Example sentences
  • Electric eels are not really eels, they are actually ostariophysians, but have a strong physical resemblance to true eels.
  • With its elongated snake-like body, the Leopard Moray eel moves very gently from one end to the other in the tank.
  • Moray eels, garfish and trumpetfish were roaming and snapping at a plethora of potential prey.


(as) slippery as an eel

Too slippery to catch hold of or hold on to: the ball was as slippery as an eel
1.1Elusive or evasive: the man was wanted in a dozen countries but was as slippery as an eel



Pronunciation: /-ˌlīk/
Example sentences
  • The most primitive craniates we know are the living Myxinoidea (hagfishes): eel-like, rather asymmetric creatures with a strong propensity to flood their immediate neighborhood with slime at the slightest provocation.
  • They are represented now only by the lampreys, eel-like forms that are parasites on fish, and the hagfish, also eel-like but feeding on dead or dying animals.
  • As a result, we may suspect that some tended toward an eel-like style of swimming or an undulating, almost legless type of locomotion on land.


Example sentences
  • She gripped the halberd's shaft, tested its weight, then slashed the blade across the beast's eely tongue.
  • In short, while the dish smelled good, the eely texture and visibility put me off like few foods have before.
  • They are also excellent thawed but that eely texture is lost.


Old English ǣl, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch aal and German Aal.

Words that rhyme with eel

allele, anele, anneal, appeal, Bastille, Beale, Castile, chenille, cochineal, cockatiel, conceal, congeal, creel, deal, Emile, feel, freewheel, genteel, Guayaquil, heal, heel, he'll, keel, Kiel, kneel, leal, Lille, Lucille, manchineel, meal, misdeal, Neil, O'Neill, ordeal, peal, peel, reel, schlemiel, seal, seel, she'll, spiel, squeal, steal, steel, Steele, teal, underseal, veal, weal, we'll, wheel, zeal

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: eel

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