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

The islands also are used as nesting sites by least terns, Forster’s terns, oystercatchers and other waterbirds. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Cow Trap Lake Project a success on multiple levels," 10 May 2018 Another reason some boats aren’t immediately destroyed and removed is that such work is prohibited part of the year by environmental protections in place for a bird called the California least tern. David Garrick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Spike in abandoned boats prompts calls for crackdown," 11 Oct. 2017

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.

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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