barn owl


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 What’s most striking within the buffer zone is the stillness of the place and the range of wildlife that can be encountered, such as a rare species of barn owl that has been allowed to multiply unmolested by human habitation. Washington Post, "30 years after the Berlin Wall, Cyprus’ division endures," 9 Nov. 2019 Voles are a favorite meal for barn owls, which come in two shades, reddish brown and white. James Gorman, New York Times, "White Barn Owls Thrive When Hunting in Bright Moonlight," 2 Sep. 2019 Similar mutual gains are already being realized across the Middle East through Israeli ornithologist Yossi Leshem’s use of barn owls to replace pesticides. Josh Adler, National Geographic, "Making peace in the Golan Heights—between humans and wolves," 11 Apr. 2019 Next Snyder brought out a screeching female barn owl, its flat white face appearing a little sleepy in the broad daylight. Washington Post, "Tourists experience the ancient sport of falconry," 11 June 2018 But in a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience on Monday, scientists tested the ability of barn owls to find a moving target among various shifting backgrounds, a visual processing task earlier tested only in primates. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "Owls See the World Much Like We Do," 3 July 2018 In her care was a kestrel, peregrine falcon, barn owl, bald and golden eagle. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Connecticut Audubon Hosts Migration Madness Weekend," 29 May 2018 Like politicians interrupting each other or reporters jockeying to get their question answered, barn owl chicks may try to outdo each other by chirping louder or more quickly in an effort to attract favor from their mothers during feeding. Joshua Rapp Learn, Smithsonian, "Some Animals Take Turns While Talking, Just Like Humans. Why?," 20 June 2018 Volunteer Jeanne Wadsworth brought out Tyton, a barn owl from Utah. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Horizon Wings Shares Majesty Of Area Raptors," 29 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of barn owl

1674, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for barn owl

Time Traveler

The first known use of barn owl was in 1674

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Statistics for barn owl

Last Updated

25 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Barn owl.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for barn owl

barn owl


English Language Learners Definition of barn owl

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on barn owl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with barn owl

Nglish: Translation of barn owl for Spanish Speakers 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).


very cautious or careful

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