Meaning of bêche-de-mer in English:

bêche-de-mer

Pronunciation /ˌbɛʃdəˈmɛː/

nounbêche-de-mer, bêches-de-mer

  • 1A large sea cucumber which is eaten as a delicacy in China and Japan.

    Also called trepang

    ‘They made seasonal visits to northern Australia, probably from the late seventeenth century, to collect trepang (also known as bêche-de-mer, sea slug, or sea cucumber - reputedly an aphrodisiac), which they traded with the Chinese.’
    • ‘Sea cucumbers that are harvested, cooked, and dried for consumption are known as bêche-de-mer.’
    • ‘Fishing for bêche-de-mer in Torres Strait is mainly by free diving from dinghies crewed by 2-3 fishers or by hand collection along reefs at low tide.’
    • ‘The creatures, also called sea cucumbers, or bêches-de-mer in French and namako in Japanese, are one of the items on Asian menus that Westerners often find most difficult to swallow.’
  • 2

    (also Bêche-de-mer)
    another term for Bislama

Origin

Late 18th century pseudo-French, alteration of Portuguese bicho do mar, literally ‘sea worm’.