noun \ˈbi-tərn\

Definition of BITTERN

:  any of various small or medium-sized usually secretive herons (especially genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus)

Origin of BITTERN

Middle English bitoure, from Anglo-French butor, from Vulgar Latin *butitaurus, from Latin buteo hawk + taurus bull
First Known Use: 1515

Rhymes with BITTERN



Definition of BITTERN

:  the bitter water solution of salts that remains after sodium chloride has crystallized out of a brine

Origin of BITTERN

irregular from 1bitter
First Known Use: 1682


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of 12 species of solitary marsh birds (family Ardeidae), related to herons but having a shorter neck and a stouter body. Most bitterns bear a camouflage pattern (streaks of variegated brown and buff) that enables them to hide by standing upright with bill pointed upward, imitating the reeds and grasses of their habitat. They feed on fish, frogs, crayfish, and other small swamp and marsh animals, which they spear with their sharp-pointed bills. Bitterns are found almost worldwide. The largest species grow to 30 in. (75 cm), the smallest to about 12–16 in. (30–40 cm).


Next Word in the Dictionary: bitter nightshade
Previous Word in the Dictionary: bitter melon
All Words Near: bittern

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up bittern? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).