gannet

noun
gan·​net | \ ˈga-nət \
plural gannets also gannet

Definition of gannet

: any of a genus (Morus of the family Sulidae, the gannet family) of large fish-eating seabirds that breed in colonies chiefly on offshore islands

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There are three oceanic bird species called gannet. They are found in the North Atlantic, where they are the largest seabirds, and in temperate seas around Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The adults are mainly white with black-tipped wing feathers and a large, yellowish or buff-colored head, with black around the eyes. They have a tapered beak and pointed tail. They dive with half-closed wings to catch fish and squid. They waddle on land, but are expert fliers, spending most of their lives over water. They nest in dense colonies on cliffs. The largest species is the 40-in (100-cm) northern gannet.

Examples of gannet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Look out on the cliffs below the trail for breeding pelagic and Brandt’s cormorants, as well as the lonely northern gannet. Jill K. Robinson, SFChronicle.com, "5 places to spot birds in Half Moon Bay," 12 July 2018 Nigel accepted the invitation, arriving in 2013 as the island's first gannet in 40 years. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Nigel, world's loneliest bird, dies next to concrete decoy it loved," 3 Feb. 2018 Seabirds like boobies, gannets, and the vulnerable crested tern have flocked to the new island for nesting, and their deposits of poop and feathers are beginning the process that will one day cover the island in soil where plants can grow. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "Japan's Nishinoshima Island Is Younger Than Princess Charlotte," 13 Aug. 2018 If the idea of clinging to a ledge all night on Boreray appears to be daunting, how about this one of Gillies’s father harvesting gannets on Stac Lee, a precipitous sea stack all of six acres in area, near Boreray? Neel Mukherjee, New York Times, "A Veritable No Man’s Land, Off the Coast of Scotland," 7 May 2018 Nigel, a handsome gannet bird who lived on a desolate island off the coast of New Zealand, died suddenly this week. Author: Karin Brulliard, Anchorage Daily News, "Nigel, the world’s loneliest bird, dies next to the concrete decoy he loved," 3 Feb. 2018 Don’t miss: From September to May, Cape Kidnappers is home to the world’s largest accessible mainland gannet bird hatching ground; make sure to take a Can-Am tour to see the colony. Jessica Flint, WSJ, "The Hedge Fund Pioneer Turned Accidental Luxury Hotelier," 19 June 2018 But types of gannets have settled all over the world, including in Scotland. Yonette Joseph, New York Times, "The Life and Death of Nigel, the World’s Loneliest Seabird," 4 Feb. 2018 In the 1990s, conservationists set up concrete gannets on the western side of Mana to lure real birds. Yonette Joseph, New York Times, "The Life and Death of Nigel, the World’s Loneliest Seabird," 4 Feb. 2018

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

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First Known Use of gannet

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gannet

Middle English ganate, gante, going back to Old English ganot, ganet "a seabird, probably Morus bassanus," going back to Germanic *ganuta- "gander" (whence Middle Dutch ghent "gander," Old High German ganazzo, ganzo), from *gan- (base of *gan-s- "goose") + *-uta-, suffix of animal names — more at goose entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near gannet

ganja

gank

ganner

gannet

gannetry

Gannett Peak

Ganocephala

Statistics for gannet

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for gannet

The first known use of gannet was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for gannet

gannet

noun

English Language Learners Definition of gannet

: a large ocean bird that eats fish

gannet

noun
gan·​net | \ ˈga-nət \

Kids Definition of gannet

: a large bird that eats fish and spends much time far from land

More from Merriam-Webster on gannet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gannet

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about gannet

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