least tern

noun

Definition of least tern

: a very small black-capped tern (Sterna antillarum) with a white body and forehead that is found chiefly in coastal areas of eastern North America and California

Examples of least tern in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There are three populations of least terns in the United States. Seth Borenstein, USA TODAY, "It was endangered for decades, but this 'tough little' bird species is ready to fly free," 10 Oct. 2019 There are three populations of least terns in the United States. Seth Borenstein, USA TODAY, "It was endangered for decades, but this 'tough little' bird species is ready to fly free," 10 Oct. 2019 There are three populations of least terns in the United States. Seth Borenstein, USA TODAY, "It was endangered for decades, but this 'tough little' bird species is ready to fly free," 10 Oct. 2019 There are three populations of least terns in the United States. Seth Borenstein, USA TODAY, "It was endangered for decades, but this 'tough little' bird species is ready to fly free," 10 Oct. 2019 The interior least tern was once hunted for feathers for hats and hurt by the damming of major rivers. Washington Post, "Midwestern bird that was nearly extinct makes a dramatic comeback," 23 Oct. 2019 There are three populations of least terns in the United States. Washington Post, "Midwestern bird that was nearly extinct makes a dramatic comeback," 23 Oct. 2019 The island is a key spot for least tern nesting, said Andrew Meyer, conservation director for the Audubon Society’s local chapter. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Changes proposed for Mission Bay’s ‘bowling pin’ island," 18 Oct. 2019 Sightings at Race Point in Provincetown included a royal tern, 5 parasitic jaegers, 1,100 laughing gulls, 2 least terns, 175 roseate terns, 2,800 common terns, 4 species of shearwater, and 2 common ravens. BostonGlobe.com, "Recent bird sightings on Cape Cod (as of Sept. 17) as reported to the Massachusetts Audubon Society.," 24 Sep. 2019

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

circa 1860, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of least tern was circa 1860

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Cite this Entry

“Least tern.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/least%20tern. Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about least tern

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