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

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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 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 Blotkamp suggests Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst—seem either to exhaust themselves or to veer from the aerie of lateness into the lower realms of the predictable, old-fashioned, and, perish the thought, commercial. Max Norman, The New Yorker, "Does “Late Style” Exist?," 13 Jan. 2020 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

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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Time Traveler for aerie

Time Traveler

The first known use of aerie was circa 1520

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Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aerie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for aerie


How to pronounce aerie (audio) How to pronounce aerie (audio) How to pronounce aerie (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aerie

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aerie

Spanish Central: Translation of aerie

Nglish: Translation of aerie for Spanish Speakers

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