ei·​der | \ ˈī-dər How to pronounce eider (audio) \

Definition of eider

1 : any of several large northern sea ducks (genera Somateria and Polystica) having fine soft down that is used by the female for lining the nest

called also eider duck

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There are several species of large diving ducks called eiders. They are heavy and round-bodied, with a humped bill that produces a characteristic sloping profile. Eiders live in the cold far north. They are the source of eiderdown, feathers that the hen plucks from her breast to line her nest and insulate her eggs. Eiderdown is used as a warm filling for jackets, pillows, quilts, and sleeping bags. Hens are mottled brown, but drakes (males) are boldly patterned, with green pigment on the head.

Examples of eider in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Hundreds of years ago, when caribou died out on the Belcher Islands archipelago, the Sanikiluaq people came to rely on the eider as a primary source of clothing and food — a unique relationship. Ashoka, Forbes, 9 June 2022 Newell designed this ungainly Willy Wonka–esque apparatus over decades in a costly process of trial and error that faced—and ultimately overcame—several challenges, including protecting the mussels from turbulent seas and voracious eider ducks. Ellen Ruppel Shell, Scientific American, 1 May 2022 Plymouth County: The area hosted a snow goose at the Holmes Reservation in Plymouth, a King eider off Summit Avenue in Hull, and 16 Eastern meadowlarks at the Cumberland Farms fields in Middleboro. BostonGlobe.com, 12 Feb. 2022 Plymouth County: The area is hosting a king eider in the Nantasket Beach area of Hull, as many as five sandhill cranes at Burrage Pond Wildlife Area in Hanson, and a cattle egret at Daniel Webster Sanctuary in Marshfield. BostonGlobe.com, 13 Nov. 2021 Essex County: Among sightings were a Pacific loon at Marblehead, a King eider at Halibut Point in Rockport, and a snow bunting at Andrews Point in Rockport. BostonGlobe.com, 23 Oct. 2021 Nearby farmers tend herds of sheep, gather down from eider ducks and hang filleted fish to dry in the sun. Washington Post, 30 July 2021 Despite an inhospitable environment, fishermen and hunters have worked here for more than 10,000 years thanks in large part to demand for the eggs and down of the eider duck. David Nikel, Forbes, 26 June 2021 South Shore: Reports included an eared grebe and a king eider in Hull. BostonGlobe.com, 17 Apr. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of eider

1743, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for eider

Dutch, German, or Swedish, from Icelandic æthur, from Old Norse æthr

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Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Eider.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eider. Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for eider


ei·​der | \ ˈī-dər How to pronounce eider (audio) \

Kids Definition of eider

: a large duck of northern seas with very soft down

More from Merriam-Webster on eider

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about eider


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