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
Did You Know?
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.
Origin and Etymology of gannet
Middle English ganate, gante, going back to Old English ganot, ganet “a seabird, probably Morus bassanus,” going back to Germanic *ganuta- “gander,” from *gan- (base of *gan-s- “goose”) + *-uta-, suffix of animal names — more at 1goose
First Known Use: before 12th centurySee Words from the same year
GANNET Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of gannet for English Language Learners
: a large ocean bird that eats fish
GANNET Defined for Kids
Definition of gannet for Students
: a large bird that eats fish and spends much time far from land
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up gannet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).