great auk


: an extinct large flightless auk (Pinguinus impennis) formerly abundant along North Atlantic coasts

Examples of great auk in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Alcids are a comparatively younger family of birds, but at least one alcid species -- the great auk found in the northern Atlantic -- lost its ability to fly, though great auks went extinct in the mid-19th century due to hunting them for their down feathers. Joshua Learn | Inside Science, ABC News, 16 Jan. 2022 The same technique could be used to study the last days of other extinct birds with interesting evolutionary histories, including the great auk, Haast's eagle and that poster child for extinction, the dodo. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 10 Mar. 2010 This is a great auk, which was driven to extinction. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, 10 Mar. 2022 Museums and merchants started paying top dollar for great auk eggs and skins. New York Times, 4 Dec. 2019 Was the great auk heading for extinction before intensive hunting began? The Conversation/jessica Emma Thomas, Ars Technica, 27 Dec. 2019 Despite its appearance, the great auk is actually a relative of razorbills and puffins, not of penguins. The Conversation/jessica Emma Thomas, Ars Technica, 27 Dec. 2019 The great auk had long provided humans with a source of meat and eggs. The Conversation/jessica Emma Thomas, Ars Technica, 27 Dec. 2019 In the past, researchers have speculated that environmental change topped off by human greed took down the great auk. New York Times, 4 Dec. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'great auk.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1768, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of great auk was in 1768

Dictionary Entries Near great auk

Cite this Entry

“Great auk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

great auk

: an extinct large auk that was unable to fly and was formerly common along North Atlantic coasts

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