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

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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

After all, this buoyantly landscaped aerie bears the official name of Salesforce Park, which in turn is the rooftop of Salesforce Transit Center. John King,, "Goodbye, San Francisco. Hello, Brandopolis," 30 June 2019 Situated approximately 30 minutes outside the village of St Remy, the Abbey de Pierredon is located on a mountaintop aerie in middle of 600 acres of forest and scrubland. Peter Mikelbank,, "Royal Wedding Take 2! Princess Grace's Granddaughter Charlotte Casiraghi Weds in Second Ceremony," 29 June 2019 In theory, such accessible distances should yield a flock of birdies and perhaps even an aerie of eagles. D.r., The Economist, "Pebble Beach should give shorter hitters a chance at the U.S. Open," 13 June 2019 Soon the demands of the looming show draw us from this cozy aerie to the fitting room, where some 60 Gucci design assistants—poster children for Michele’s eclectic-looking assemblages of pan-decade garments—have been waiting. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Inside the Wild World of Gucci’s Alessandro Michele," 15 Apr. 2019 After lunch, Piccioli pops into his offices, one of which was Valentino’s former aerie (the flowery Traviata tapestries now replaced by photographs of David Bowie and Serge Gainsbourg). Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Inside the Private World of Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli," 3 Mar. 2019 There are 21 bungalows and three villas, each of them different—from grand aeries with their own private pools and outdoor claw-foot bathtubs and four-poster beds to private, cozy tuck-aways—each of them somehow inviting, elegant, and breathtaking. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "St. Barth’s Is Back—Here’s Where to Go," 30 Nov. 2018 Liang and Lin crawled into the temple’s most forbidding, forgotten areas to determine its age, including one aerie inhabited by thousands of bats and millions of bedbugs, covered in dust and littered with dead bats. New York Times, "Overlooked No More: Lin Huiyin and Liang Sicheng, Chroniclers of Chinese Architecture," 11 Apr. 2018 Some stylish aeries come with skylights, TV and compostable toilets. Wsj Real Estate, WSJ, "Tree Houses for Grown-Ups," 3 May 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for aerie

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for aerie

The first known use of aerie was circa 1520

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on aerie

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aerie

Spanish Central: Translation of aerie

Nglish: Translation of aerie for Spanish Speakers

Comments on aerie

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to shake or wave menacingly

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