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Webster 1913 Edition


Owl

Owl

(oul)
,
Noun.
[AS.
ūle
; akin to D.
uil
, OHG.
ūwila
, G.
eule
, Icel.
ugla
, Sw.
ugla
, Dan.
ugle
.]
1.
(Zool.)
Any species of raptorial birds of the family
Strigidae
. They have large eyes and ears, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye. They are mostly nocturnal in their habits.
☞ Some species have erectile tufts of feathers on the head. The feathers are soft and somewhat downy. The species are numerous. See
Barn owl
,
Burrowing owl
,
Eared owl
,
Hawk owl
,
Horned owl
,
Screech owl
,
Snowy owl
, under
Barn
,
Burrowing
, etc.
☞ In the Scriptures the owl is commonly associated with desolation; poets and story-tellers introduce it as a bird of ill omen. . . . The Greeks and Romans made it the emblem of wisdom, and sacred to Minerva, – and indeed its large head and solemn eyes give it an air of wisdom.
Am. Cyc.
2.
(Zool.)
A variety of the domestic pigeon.
Owl monkey
(Zool.)
,
any one of several species of South American nocturnal monkeys of the genus
Nyctipithecus
. They have very large eyes. Called also
durukuli
.
Owl moth
(Zool.)
,
a very large moth (
Erebus strix
). The expanse of its wings is over ten inches.
Owl parrot
(Zool.)
,
the kakapo.
Sea owl
(Zool.)
,
the lumpfish.
Owl train
,
a cant name for certain railway trains whose run is in the nighttime.

Owl

,
Verb.
I.
[
imp. & p. p.
Owled
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Owling
.]
1.
To pry about; to prowl.
[Prov. Eng.]
2.
To carry wool or sheep out of England.
[Obs.]
☞ This was formerly illegal, and was done chiefly by night.
3.
Hence, to carry on any contraband trade.
[Eng.]

Webster 1828 Edition


Owl

OWL

,
Noun.
[L. ulula, ululo.]
A fowl of the genus Strix, that flies chiefly in the night.

Definition 2021


owl

owl

See also: OWL

English

A northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina)
A 19th-century watercolour of an oriental bay owl (Phodilus badius), from the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings, National Museum of Singapore

Noun

owl (plural owls)

  1. Any of various birds of prey of the order Strigiformes that are primarily nocturnal and have forward-looking, binocular vision, limited eye movement, and good hearing. [from 8th c.]
  2. A person seen as having owl-like characteristics, especially appearing wise or serious, or being nocturnally active. [from 14th c.]
  3. The owl pigeon. [from 18th c.]

Derived terms

Translations

See also

Anagrams

References

  1. Marlies Philippa et al, eds., Etymologisch Woordenboek van het Nederlands, A-Z, s.v. “uil” (Amsterdam UP, 3 Dec. 2009).
  2. Derksen, Rick (2008) Etymological Dictionary of the Slavic Inherited Lexicon (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 4), Leiden, Boston: Brill, ISBN 978 90 04 15504 6, pages 532—535
  3. Vladimir Orel, A Handbook of Germanic Etymology, s.vv. “*uwwalōn”, “*uwwǭ”, “*ūfaz ~ *ūfǭ” (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 436.