gyr·​fal·​con | \ ˈjər-ˌfal-kən How to pronounce gyrfalcon (audio) , -ˌfȯl- also -ˌfȯ-kən \

Definition of gyrfalcon

: an arctic falcon (Falco rusticolus) that occurs in several color forms and is the largest of all falcons

Illustration of gyrfalcon

Illustration of gyrfalcon

Examples of gyrfalcon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Now the gyrfalcon’s year-round home is the fastest-warming region on Earth. George Steinmetz, National Geographic, 24 July 2020 Pictured, below left: These gyrfalcon chicks are about 25 days old and ready to be banded by biologists so they can be identified in the future. George Steinmetz, National Geographic, 24 July 2020 What does a gyrfalcon, aerial queen of the Arctic, look like in its own domain? George Steinmetz, National Geographic, 24 July 2020 Emperors flew eagles and vultures; kings flew gyrfalcons; and ladies flew merlins, a species favored by Mary, Queen of Scots, in the 16th century. Kate Donnelly, Travel + Leisure, 22 Apr. 2020 Only 3% of all falcons are gyrfalcons, and only 1% of gyrfalcons are white, the academy said. Ryan Prior, CNN, 2 Oct. 2019 To give context of their rarity, 3 percent of all falcons are gyrfalcons, and only 1 percent of that 3 percent are white. Ryan Prior, CNN, 2 Oct. 2019 For example, kings could fly gyrfalcons, and servants could fly kestrels. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, 15 Nov. 2019 Only 3 percent of falcons are gyrfalcons, and only 1 percent of them are white. Eric Todisco,, 3 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gyrfalcon.' 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 gyrfalcon

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gyrfalcon

Middle English gerfaucun, from Anglo-French girfauc, girfaucon, probably from gir vulture (from Old High German gīr) + faucon falcon

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The first known use of gyrfalcon was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Gyrfalcon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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