killdeer

play
noun kill·deer \ˈkil-ˌdir\

Definition of killdeer

plural

killdeers

or

killdeer

  1. :  an American plover (Charadrius vociferus) characterized by two black breast bands and a plaintive penetrating cry

Did You Know?

This attractive dark-eyed bird has a loud, rather sad cry that to some people sounds like “Kill deer! Kill deer!” Killdeers are not vicious birds. They have no special hatred of deer, and they do not eat venison. The killdeer is simply an animal that got its name from human interpretation of its call.

Illustration of killdeer

Origin and Etymology of killdeer

imitative


First Known Use: 1731


KILLDEER Defined for Kids

killdeer

play
noun kill·deer \ˈkil-ˌdir\

Definition of killdeer for Students

  1. :  a grayish brown North American bird that has a high-pitched mournful call

History for killdeer

Killdeers are not vicious birds. They have no particular hatred for deer, but to some people the cry of these birds must have sounded like “Kill deer! Kill deer! Kill deer!” That is why the bird got its unusual name.


Learn More about killdeer


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up killdeer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

an alert or lookout

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • alphabet-magnets
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ