Definition of erne
: eagle; especially : a long-winged sea eagle (Haliäetus albicilla) with a short white wedge-shaped tail
erne was our Word of the Day on 10/15/2007. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
What do ernes, crows, finches, wrens, owls, and sparrows have in common (besides feathers and beaks and other avian traits)? Wing your way through one thousand years of ornithological and etymological history, and you will alight on an Old English lexicon wherein these birds had basically the same names as they have now. Their names were spelled a little differently back then: "earn," "crāwe," "finc," "wrenna," "Ūle," and "spearwa." All those avian names are also birds of a feather in that their ancestors are akin to Old High German words: arn, "krāwa," "fincho," "rentilo," "uwila," and "sparo," respectively.
Origin and Etymology of erne
Middle English, from Old English earn; akin to Old High German arn eagle, Greek ornis bird
First Known Use: before 12th century
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