cor·​mo·​rant ˈkȯrm-rənt How to pronounce cormorant (audio)
: any of various dark-colored web-footed waterbirds (family Phalacrocoracidae, especially genus Phalacrocorax) that have a long neck, hooked bill, and distensible throat pouch
: a gluttonous, greedy, or rapacious person

Illustration of cormorant

Illustration of cormorant

Examples of cormorant in a Sentence

Diamond Jim Brady was perhaps the most celebrated cormorant of the Gilded Age.
Recent Examples on the Web Simply not randomly shooting ravens, hawks and eagles, along with banning the harmful pesticide DDT, allowed many species, like eagles, cormorants and osprey, to return from the brink. John Myers, Twin Cities, 26 May 2024 Several sleek black diving cormorants, along with an osprey, roosted in the branches during a morning visit on Thursday. Alex Harris, Miami Herald, 24 May 2024 When fish are stuck in the canal, predators like grebes and cormorants can more easily snatch them. Aaron Boorstein, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Apr. 2024 One bird — a Brandt’s cormorant — that had been oiled died over the weekend. Hannah Fry, Los Angeles Times, 11 Mar. 2024 Countless species including these cormorants depend on healthy kelp forests to thrive. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 Last summer at a popular Monterey dive site, the cormorants seemed to be more active and curious than usual ... Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, 20 Feb. 2024 The footage showing colorful schools of European perch, nosediving cormorants and looming wels catfish attracts a lot of attention. Vittoria Traverso, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Nov. 2023 In Oregon, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers killed thousands of cormorants in an effort to protect salmon in the Columbia River. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


Middle English cormeraunt, from Middle French cormorant, from Old French cormareng, from corp raven + marenc of the sea, from Latin marinus — more at corbel, marine

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cormorant was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near cormorant

Cite this Entry

“Cormorant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


cor·​mo·​rant ˈkȯrm-(ə-)rənt How to pronounce cormorant (audio)
: any of various dark-colored web-footed seabirds with a long neck, a hooked bill, and a patch of bare often brightly colored skin under the mouth

More from Merriam-Webster on cormorant

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!