ae·​rie | \ ˈer-ē How to pronounce aerie (audio) , ˈir-ē How to pronounce aerie (audio) , ˈā-(ə-)rē How to pronounce aerie (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of aerie

1 : the nest of a bird on a cliff or a mountaintop
2 obsolete : a brood of birds of prey
3 : an elevated often secluded dwelling, structure, or position

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

English poet John Milton put a variant of "aerie" to good use in Paradise Lost (1667), writing "...there the eagle and the stork / On cliffs and cedar tops their eyries build." But Milton wasn't the first to use the term, which comes to us via Medieval Latin and Old French and probably traces to an earlier Latin word for "nest" or "lair." English speakers had been employing "aerie" as a word for "bird's nest" for more than a century when Milton penned those words. Eventually, "aerie" was applied to human dwellings as well as birds' nests. At first, this sense referred to dwellings nestled high up in mountains or hills. These days, you're also likely to hear high-rise city apartments or offices referred to as "aeries."

Examples of aerie in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But on the inside, their aerie is a pristine backdrop for work and play. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "How One Creative Couple Went from Bauhaus to Penthouse," 17 Feb. 2021 Up in the rarefied aerie of the 102nd floor observatory, new floor-to-ceiling windows reveal the panorama of the possibilities below. James Panero, WSJ, "An Iconic Beacon Shines Anew," 11 Dec. 2020 The serene mountain aerie 90 miles north of Edo was renowned for its scenery and ornate Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Hiroshi Okamoto, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Way of the Shogun," 9 July 2020 In Manhattan, four more full-floor aeries at 220 Central Park South sold — one for nearly $56.3 million, the biggest sale for the month and for 2020, and the three others for $53.6 million, $52.2 million and $50.9 million. Vivian Marino, New York Times, "A Record Sale in Brooklyn Among April’s Closings," 1 May 2020 Nothing here is a cliche, especially the ark aerie. oregonlive, "Ark treehouse, Airstream and ADUs: Portland architect designs compact, comfy homes on his Cully property," 25 Apr. 2020 The hotel, which is surrounded by lush tropical gardens and sits up on a hill above the harbor, feels like a leafy aerie; near the buzz of town, but still a proper retreat. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Hottest New Hotel Openings of Fall 2019," 1 Oct. 2019 Last sold for $1,400,000 in 2001 A waterfront aerie is nothing less than magical, especially when set on half an acre with a private, rocky beach and a view of downtown Boston. Real Estate, "Luxury in the Burbs: What about $3 million gets you," 22 Jan. 2020 Mountaintop aeries like the Aragats Cosmic Ray Research Station receded in the quest for ultimate knowledge. Yulia Grigoryants, New York Times, "Alone on a Mountaintop, Awaiting a Very Hard Rain," 21 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aerie.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of aerie

circa 1520, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aerie

borrowed from Medieval Latin airea, aira, eria, Latinization of Old French aire, ere "bird's nest on a rock, family, stock, sort, kind," probably going back to Vulgar Latin *agrum, re-formation of Latin ager "field" — more at acre

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aerie

Time Traveler for aerie

Time Traveler

The first known use of aerie was circa 1520

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about aerie

Statistics for aerie

Cite this Entry

“Aerie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for aerie



English Language Learners Definition of aerie

: the nest of a bird (such as an eagle or hawk) built high up on a cliff or on the top of a mountain
: a room or building built high up so that people inside can see things happening below them

More from Merriam-Webster on aerie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aerie

Nglish: Translation of aerie for Spanish Speakers

Comments on aerie

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!