ey·​as | \ ˈī-əs How to pronounce eyas (audio) \

Definition of eyas

: an unfledged bird specifically : a nestling hawk

Eyas Originated as a Linguistic Mistake

Eyas is a funny-sounding word that exists because of a mistake. In the 15th century, Middle English speakers made an incorrect assumption about the word neias, which comes from the Anglo-French niais ("fresh from the nest"). "A neias" sounded like "an eias" to their ears, so the word lost that initial "n," eventually becoming "eyas." (There are other words in English that were created in this same fashion; for example, "an apron" used to be "a napron.") The change in spelling may have been suggested by other Middle English words like "ey" ("egg") and "eyry," which was a spelling of "aerie," the hawk's nest where an eyas would be found.

Examples of eyas in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web About 54 eyases, or falcon chicks, have emerged from library rooftop scrapes over the years, library officials said. Genevieve Bookwalter, chicagotribune.com, 6 Aug. 2019 The newest eyases were expected to begin flying in late June. Genevieve Bookwalter, chicagotribune.com, 6 Aug. 2019 About 54 eyases have emerged from library rooftop scrapes over the years, library officials said. Genevieve Bookwalter, chicagotribune.com, 6 June 2019 The newest eyases are expected to begin flying in about three weeks. Genevieve Bookwalter, chicagotribune.com, 6 June 2019 The Chesapeake Conservancy, with aid from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, rescued the peregrine falcon eyas, or a young peregrine falcon, after it was found on the ground level of the building. Phil Davis, baltimoresun.com, 6 June 2019

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

First Known Use of eyas

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for eyas

Middle English, alteration (by incorrect division of a neias) of neias, from Anglo-French niais taken in the nest, from Vulgar Latin *nidax nestling, from Latin nidus nest — more at nest

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The first known use of eyas was in the 15th century

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Eyck, van

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Cite this Entry

“Eyas.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eyas. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on eyas

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about eyas


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