[French] plural colins

For this fish, I quote here in full the excellent letter of Brian Smith of Highcliffe in Dorset to the Guardian newspaper on Friday 10th April 2009: “We have frequently found confusion in France over what to ask for when buying hake. Ask for a ‘colin’ south of the Loire and they won’t know what you are talking about as they call it ‘merlu’. But north of the Loire, especially in Paris, it’s called ‘colin’. We are not alone in our confusion as Larousse (1961 edition) recognised the north-south divide, but quotes ‘merlan’ for the south, even though this is whiting. Keep up with me. Move on 10 years and Pamela Vandyke Price just recognises ‘colin’ as hake, in an otherwise remarkable useful “Eating and Drinking in France Today” (1971). Move on another 30 years and Alan Davidson’s “North Atlantic Seafood” (2003) uses ‘colin’ and ‘merlu’ correctly, but also adds to the confusion by calling pollack ‘colin; in northern France. I have never heard pollack called that name. Most fish shops’ best-selling fish is ‘lieu jaune’ (Pollack) and ‘lieu noir’ (coley) – and you’ll find great slabs of both in every supermarket in France.

Synonyms in other languages


Latin names



Related terms