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 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 But there’s no room inside Aon for an elevator leading to the aerie, so 601W charged Chicago architects Solomon Cordwell Buenz with putting one on the outside. Blair Kamin,, "Aon Center makeover treats big banal skyscraper with respect. But about that thrill ride ...," 14 May 2018 The 14th-floor aerie was ringed by wide windows and looked out on a clear but chilly day. Steven Levy, WIRED, "Cracking the Crypto War," 25 Apr. 2018 His aerie totals 10,923 square feet, with six bedrooms and six bathrooms, according to an offering plan for the project. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "Inside Michael Dell’s Sprawling Property Empire," 22 Mar. 2018 SUBSCRIBE NOW Breeding peregrines return to the same nesting sites, or aeries, on rocky ledges each year. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Feisty and territorial falcons fly back to NC mountains. Climbers are getting credit.," 15 Feb. 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

15 May 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

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