aerie

noun ae·rie \ ˈer-ē , ˈir- , ˈā-(ə-)rē \
variants: or less commonly
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

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

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Recent Examples of aerie from the Web

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.

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."

Origin and Etymology of 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


AERIE Defined for English Language Learners

aerie

noun

Definition of aerie for English Language Learners

  • : 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



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