Why is a group of fish called "school"?

And is it anyhow etymologically connected with the word "school" denoting an educational establishment?


A group of fish can be called a school or a shoal. Both words from the Dutch root "schole" meaning a troop or a crowd.

From Etymology Online:

"group of fish," late 14c., scole, from Middle Dutch schole (Dutch school) "group of fish or other animals," cognate with Old English scolu "band, troop, crowd of fish," from West Germanic *skulo- (source also of Old Saxon scola "troop, multitude," West Frisian skoal), perhaps with a literal sense of "division," from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut."

  • Welcome to ELL, this will be a great answer, but please can you add a source to back it up? – Gamora Nov 21 '19 at 15:31
  • This is a good answer, and an excellent answer from a new contributor. I have added a credible source to back up and flesh out your answer. – Eddie Kal Nov 21 '19 at 15:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.