An eel is a fish that's so long and skinny it resembles a snake. Most eels live in very shallow ocean waters, burrowing into the sand there.

Eels are a type of fish, and though they are as long and flexible as snakes, they don't have scales, and if you look closely you can see they have a long, low fin. Eels are famous for being slippery, and in fact to be "as slippery as an eel" means to be so sneaky and cunning that you can get away with something illegal or illicit. This figurative meaning dates from the 16th century.

Definitions of eel
  1. noun
    voracious snakelike marine or freshwater fishes with smooth slimy usually scaleless skin and having a continuous vertical fin but no ventral fins
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    young eel
    common eel, freshwater eel
    eels that live in fresh water as adults but return to sea to spawn; found in Europe and America; marketed both fresh and smoked
    Anguilla sucklandii, tuna
    New Zealand eel
    moray, moray eel
    family of brightly colored voracious eels of warm coastal waters; generally nonaggressive to humans but larger species are dangerous if provoked
    conger, conger eel
    large dark-colored scaleless marine eel found in temperate and tropical coastal waters; some used for food
    type of:
    malacopterygian, soft-finned fish
    any fish of the superorder Malacopterygii
  2. noun
    the fatty flesh of eel; an elongate fish found in fresh water in Europe and America; large eels are usually smoked or pickled
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    smoked eel
    eel cured by smoking
    young eel; may be sauteed or batter-fried
    type of:
    the flesh of fish used as food
Word Family
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