Mackerel sky


      • to describe a sky covered with rows of small white clouds
        to describe a sky that looks like fish scales, often indicating changing weather

    Examples of Mackerel sky

    • The sky looked like a row of silver sardines - it was a mackerel sky.

      The expression "mackerel sky" is a metaphorical description of the sky that appears to have an oily or greasy texture, similar to the appearance of mackerel fish. This type of sky is often associated with impending bad weather, such as rain or thunderstorms. The metaphor compares the appearance of the sky to a row of silver sardines, which adds a unique and vivid image to the description. Overall, it is a vivid and poetic way to describe a specific type of sky that signals changes in the weather.

    • The fisherman told me that a mackerel sky usually signifies a drop in barometric pressure, and I should pack my raincoat before heading to the beach.

      Here, the phrase "mackerel sky" is used in a conversational context, where a fisherman gives a warning based on his knowledge of weather patterns. The metaphor is used effectively to convey the significance of the sky's appearance, and to highlight the potential for upcoming weather changes. By associating the sky's appearance with mackerel fish, the warning becomes more memorable and easier to recall.

    • As we stepped out of the cab, the dull grey sky suddenly turned into a mackerel sky, and we could hear the rumble of thunder in the distance.

      In this example, the idiom is used to create a vivid and dramatic scene, where a sudden shift in the sky's appearance triggers the sound of thunder. By using the mackerel sky metaphor, the description becomes more interesting and engaging, helping to build tension and anticipation for the upcoming weather changes.

    • The old man sitting on the bench gazed at the mackerel sky and muttered, "It's coming, I tell you. It's coming."

      This example highlights the use of the mackerel sky idiom as a way to convey impending or upcoming weather changes. Here, the phrase is used as a metaphorical warning, where the old man interprets the sky's appearance as a harbinger of bad weather. His warning adds a touch of poetic language to the scene, and creates a sense of mystery and intrigue.Overall, the use of the "mackerel sky" idiom is a creative and vivid way to describe a specific type of sky, and it can be used effectively in different parts of the sentence, from descriptions to conversations, and even in poetry. By comparing the sky's appearance to that of mackerel fish, authors and speakers can create memorable and engaging descriptions that help to build tension, anticipation, and suspense.

    • The sky above the city was a mackerel sky, as if it had been painted with thick brushstrokes of grey and yellow.

      The idiom "mackerel sky" refers to a sky that appears to be mottled and uneven, with patches of grey and yellow. This expression is often used to describe weather that is unsettled or changing rapidly.

    • The mackerel sky was a sign that another storm was brewing.

      In this example, the idiom is used as a simile to compare the appearance of the sky to a particular pattern, indicating that stormy weather is likely to follow.

    • The fisherman squinted up at the mackerel sky, hoping for a break in the weather.

      This example shows how the idiom can be used as a noun, with "sky" substituted for "mackerel sky". It also demonstrates how idiomatic expressions can be incorporated into everyday speech, adding color and richness to language.

    • The mackerel sky had a menacing quality, as if it were holding its breath, waiting for something to happen.

      In this example, the idiom is used to convey a mood or atmosphere, suggesting that the sky appears tense or ominous. This illustrates the versatility of idiomatic expressions, which can be adapted to suit different contexts and purposes.


    The idiom "mackerel sky" is often used to describe a sky that is filled with rows of small white clouds, resembling the scales on a mackerel fish. This visual imagery is often used to indicate changing weather or the possibility of an upcoming storm. The idiom is used to describe a specific type of cloud formation, and is not typically used in other contexts.

    Origin of "Mackerel sky"

    The origin of the idiom "mackerel sky" can be traced back to the visual resemblance of the sky to the scales of a mackerel fish. The phrase is thought to have originated from sailors and fishermen who would observe the sky as a way to predict weather patterns. The distinctive appearance of the clouds in a mackerel sky may have been associated with changing weather conditions, leading to the use of the idiom to describe such a sky. Over time, the phrase has become a common way to describe a specific type of cloud formation that may indicate impending changes in the weather.

    Overall, the idiom "mackerel sky" likely originated from the visual similarity between the sky and the scales of a mackerel fish, and has been used for centuries to describe a specific type of cloud formation.