• masculine A diamond-shaped flatfish, Psetta maxima, up to 1 m in length and 15 kg with a spotted sandy back covered in small bumps. Found in the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The fine white flesh is firm and medium oily and can be cooked in any way. The head and bones are a rich source of gelatine and make excellent stock. The turbot found in the East Atlantic is a different species, Scophthalmus maximus, but otherwise is similar.


  • noun a large flat edible white sea fish

Origin & History of “turbot”

The turbot is etymologically the ‘thorn-flatfish’. Its name comes via Old French turbot from Old Swedish törnbut ‘turbot’. this was a compound noun formed from törn ‘thorn’ (a relative of English thorn) and but ‘flatfish’, a borrowing from middle Low German but which probably denoted etymologically ‘stumpy’, and also supplied the final syllable of English halibut (15th c.). The name presumably alludes to the bony nodules on the fish’s back.