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 Even a common species like the barn owl — found on every continent as well as remote islands — is a source of disagreement. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, 19 Feb. 2024 The conservation group BirdLife International recognizes barn owls as a species, Tyto alba, that lives across the world. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, 19 Feb. 2024 The Princess of Wales brought along 50 copies of The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark, which follows a baby barn owl on an epic adventure to overcome a fear of the dark. Simon Perry, Peoplemag, 24 Nov. 2023 Israel is home to the densest barn owl population in the world, according to a statement. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Oct. 2023 And birds of prey like buzzards, sparrowhawks, barn owls, and tawny owls. Elizabeth Waddington, Treehugger, 13 Sep. 2023 The flat faces of certain owls, like the barn owl, act as a giant external ear — like a satellite dish — with the feathers directing the sound into the ear. New York Times, 21 Sep. 2023 In general, mainland populations of barn owls are darker than those that dwell on isolated islands. Grrlscientist, Forbes, 18 Apr. 2023 Many owl species, like the barn owl, weigh less than two pounds. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 31 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'barn owl.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1674, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of barn owl was in 1674

Dictionary Entries Near barn owl

Cite this Entry

“Barn owl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

barn owl

: a widely distributed owl with brown, gray, and white feathers that is found near barns and other buildings and preys especially on rodents

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