Definition of killdeer
: an American plover (Charadrius vociferus) characterized by two black breast bands and a plaintive penetrating cry
Recent Examples of killdeer from the Web
Lately, I have been accosted by an assertive and nervous killdeer.
A killdeer flew high above, and there were cardinals, a little farther away, sticking closer to the ground.
Meanwhile, the disease has killed thousands of waterbirds, as well as nearly 200 bald eagles and a handful of geese, hawks, owls, killdeer, and probably more avian species.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'killdeer'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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.
Origin and Etymology of killdeer
First Known Use: 1731See Words from the same year
KILLDEER Defined for Kids
Definition of killdeer for Students
: 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.
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).