aerie

noun
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

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, ager, meaning "field." English speakers had been employing aerie as a word for a bird's nest for more than a century when he 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 And since Peak overlooks the entirety of New York, with its panorama including the Empire State Building, the East and Hudson Rivers and, in the distance, that Lady in the Harbor, there is no finer aerie than this. John Mariani, Forbes, 6 July 2022 Analysts at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, an aerie for deficit hawks, have estimated that the repayment pause was tantamount to granting the average borrower $5,500 in debt cancellation as of May 1. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 18 May 2022 The region’s reputation as an aerie of Range Rovers, seersucker and privilege is on point, but that doesn’t capture its serene beauty. Andrew Nelson, WSJ, 19 May 2022 From his glass aerie, Statter surveys the roads below: Zeus without a lightning bolt but with social media. Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2022 While staying in Frank’s aerie in Chicago, the eight-year-old Kirsten directs the brothers in a reënactment of a scene from her comic book. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 13 Jan. 2022 At 7,600 square feet over two floors, the boutique sees Marino’s signature sleek-chic aesthetic transformed into an arty tropical aerie, which features works by such names as Vera Lutter and Gregor Hildebrandt. Nick Remsen, Vogue, 4 Dec. 2021 Hidden in the corridors of this granite aerie are portraits of nearly 50 former mayors. Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times, 11 July 2021 But on the inside, their aerie is a pristine backdrop for work and play. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, 17 Feb. 2021 See More

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.

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near aerie

Aerides

aerie

aerification

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for aerie

Last Updated

20 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aerie.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aerie. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on aerie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aerie

Nglish: Translation of aerie for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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