noun \ˈshir-ˌw-tər, -ˌwä-\

Definition of SHEARWATER

:  any of numerous oceanic birds (especially genus Puffinus) that are related to the petrels and usually skim close to the waves in flight

First Known Use of SHEARWATER

circa 1671


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of numerous species (family Procellariidae) of long-winged seabirds named for their habit of gliding on stiff wings along wave troughs. Typical shearwaters are the 12–17 drab, slender-billed species of Puffinus, 14–26 in. (35–65 cm) long. Shearwaters nest in a burrow on offshore islands and coastal hills in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and throughout most of the Pacific. A colony may consist of hundreds of thousands of pairs; at night, when the calling adults move in and out of the burrows, the din is deafening. See also fulmar, petrel.


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