noun (1)
bit·​tern | \ ˈbi-tərn How to pronounce bittern (audio) \

Definition of bittern

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: any of various small or medium-sized, short-necked, usually secretive herons (especially genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus)


noun (2)

Definition of bittern (Entry 2 of 2)

: the bitter water solution of salts that remains after sodium chloride has crystallized out of a brine

First Known Use of bittern

Noun (1)

circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1682, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bittern

Noun (1)

Middle English bitoure, from Anglo-French butor, from Vulgar Latin *butitaurus, from Latin buteo hawk + taurus bull

Noun (2)

irregular from bitter entry 1

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Time Traveler for bittern

Time Traveler

The first known use of bittern was circa 1530

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Cite this Entry

“Bittern.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for bittern


bit·​tern | \ ˈbi-tərn How to pronounce bittern (audio) \

Kids Definition of bittern

: a brownish marsh bird which has a loud booming cry

More from Merriam-Webster on bittern

Nglish: Translation of bittern for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about bittern

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