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How to translate common fish into French

Ever get confused at the fish counter or in the restaurant in France or other French-speaking places? I still do, despite writing this list some time ago. It seemed to have disappeared from my blog, so I am publishing it again. Apologies for any obvious omissions. It is worth noting that soem fish names vary according to region, so it's easy to find unfamiliar names. I have not included seafood in my list.

Do comment if there are any obvious ones I may have missed.

Fish markets and fish counters in supermarkets are so much more interesting than British ones, aren't they? But I wonder why the French eat so little haddock ("églefin/aiglefin") when it is good and so plentiful? On the other hand whiting is common in France and deserves to be more so in the UK. The French eat a lot more ling/sea burbot ("julienne") than we do, but I do find that a bit short on flavour. They also consume quite a bit of dried salted cod ("morue").

Anglais                      Français

anchovy                    anchois (m)
basa (river cobbler)   pangas (m)
bream                       brème (f)
carp                          carpe (f)
catfish                       barbote (f) mâchoiron (m)
chub                         spirlin (m)
cod                          cabillaud (m), morue (dried and salted) (f)
coley/ pollock            lieu (m)/ colin (m)
dab (flounder)           limande (f)  - limande is also a slang word for flat-chested!
eel                            anguille (f)
grayling                     poisson ombre (m)
grey mullet                mulet (m)
gurnard                     grondin (m)
haddock                   églefin/aiglefin (m)
hake                         merlu (m)
halibut                       flétan (m)
herring                      hareng (m)
ling, sea burbot         julienne (f)
ling                           lingue (f)
mackerel                   maquereau (m)
monkfish                   lotte (f)
perch                        perche (f)
pike                          brochet (m)
pilchard                     pilchard (m)
red mullet                  rouget (m)
red sea bream           pageot (m)
salmon                      saumon (m)
sardine                      sardine (f)
sea bass                    bar (m)
sea bream                 daurade (f) sar (m)
shark                        requin (m)
skate                        raie (f)
smoked haddock      haddock (m)
snapper                    vivaneau (m)
sole                          sole (f)
sturgeon                   esturgeon (m)
swordfish                  espadon (m)
trout                         truite (f)
tuna                         thon (m)
turbot                       turbot (m)
whitebait                  petite friture (f)
whiting                     merlan (m)


  1. Thank you for posting ,I will try to get Le Clerc in my local town to keep a copy of this list!

  2. Hi. Thanks for commentig. Glad this was useful to you!

  3. Thanks for the list it will make my life a little easier this summer. Any ideas about lieu noir and lieu jaune

  4. I think lieu noir is coalfish, lieu jaune is pollock.


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