An Alpine newt larva showing the gills, which flare just behind the head.



  • a breathing organ of fish and other aquatic animals
  • a gill slit or gill cover
  • one of the radial folds on the underside of the cap of a mushroom, on the surface of which the spore-producing organs are borne
  • the fleshy flap that hangs below the beak of a fowl; a wattle
  • the flesh under or about the chin; a wattle
  • one of the combs of closely ranged steel pins which divide the ribbons of flax fiber or wool into fewer parallel filaments
  • a drink measure for spirits and wine
  • a measuring jug holding a quarter or half a pint
  • rivulet
  • ravine
  • a two-wheeled frame for transporting timber
  • a leech
  • a female ferret
  • a promiscuous woman; harlot, wanton
  • a prostitute


  • To remove the gills from a fish as part of gutting and cleaning it.
  • To catch (a fish) in a gillnet.
  • To be or become entangled in a gillnet.
  • To act as a prostitute.


Similar words


  • From Middle English gile ("gill") (early 14th century), of Scandinavian origin, akin to Swedish gäl, Danish gælle, Norwegian gjelle, and further to Old Norse gjǫlnar, which also may have had the meaning of "gills" (based on Old Danish fiskegæln). The Old Norse word has been suggested as deriving from Proto-Germanic *gelunaz, which would make it root-cognate to Ancient Greek χελυνη, χεῖλος.
  • From Middle English gille, from Old French gille, from Medieval Latin gillo, possibly from Gaulish gallā.
  • From Middle English gille, from Old Norse gil
  • Etymology uncertain.
  • , from the female name Gillian.

Modern English dictionary

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