barn owl

noun

Definition of barn owl

: a widely distributed owl (Tyto alba) that has plumage mottled buff brown and gray above and chiefly white below, frequents barns and other buildings, and preys especially on rodents

Examples of barn owl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sometimes barn owl breasts are spotted, especially among females. National Geographic, "Barn owl," 31 Oct. 2020 Firefighters in Southern California rescued a barn owl from a huge wildfire south of Los Angeles. Alex Sundby, CBS News, "Firefighters rescue little owl from Southern California's Silverado Fire," 28 Oct. 2020 Global barn owl populations range somewhere between four million and about a billion, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. National Geographic, "Barn owl," 31 Oct. 2020 Earlier this evening one of our crews on a brush rig rescued a barn owl from the flames of the #SilveradoFire. Alex Sundby, CBS News, "Firefighters rescue little owl from Southern California's Silverado Fire," 28 Oct. 2020 Orange County firefighters have rescued a barn owl from California’s Silverado Fire, a heartwarming video shows. James Rogers, Fox News, "Owl rescued from Silverado Fire by Orange County firefighters," 28 Oct. 2020 Somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, a barn owl has just eaten a mouse. Washington Post, "The owl pellet economy: Meet the entrepreneurs who’ve devoted their lives to bird vomit," 26 Aug. 2020 Laboratory measurements have shown that the slight swoosh made by a barn owl is below the threshold of human hearing until the owl is about three feet away — a feat of stealth that biologists and engineers are far from completely understanding. Dana Mackenzie, Smithsonian Magazine, "To Silence Wind Turbines and Airplanes, Engineers Are Studying Owl Wings," 15 Apr. 2020 The research group found that the cilia are notably absent from feathers of barn owls and nightjars, two species that stalk prey at night. Jim Daley, Scientific American, "Winged “PigeonBot” Flies with Real Feathers," 10 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barn owl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of barn owl

1674, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about barn owl

Time Traveler for barn owl

Time Traveler

The first known use of barn owl was in 1674

See more words from the same year

Statistics for barn owl

Last Updated

14 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Barn owl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/barn%20owl. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for barn owl

barn owl

noun

English Language Learners Definition of barn owl

: a common kind of owl that nests in barns and other buildings

More from Merriam-Webster on barn owl

Nglish: Translation of barn owl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about barn owl

Comments on barn owl

What made you want to look up barn owl? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

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!