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Scombroid

Pronounced /ˈskɒmbrɔɪd/Help with pronunciation

The scombroid fish are a group of about 100 species that include the mackerel, tuna, marlins and swordfish.

It’s a moderately common technical term in zoology, deriving ultimately from the Greek scombros for the mackerel or tunny, which also led via Latin to scomber as an uncommon English word for the mackerel, which is now only used as the formal name for the genus.

You are most likely to encounter the word in the phrase scombroid poisoning, which is caused by eating fish that contains histamines produced by bacterial activity as a result of poor storage. As you can get this through eating other spoiled foods such as cheese, perhaps the alternative name of histamine poisoning is more suitable.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 7 Mar. 1998

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-sco1.htm
Last modified: 7 March 1998.