mer·​gan·​ser (ˌ)mər-ˈgan(t)-sər How to pronounce merganser (audio)
: any of various fish-eating diving ducks (especially genus Mergus) with a slender bill hooked at the end and serrated along the margins and usually a crested head see common merganser

Illustration of merganser

Illustration of merganser

Examples of merganser in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Hooded mergansers, startled by human presence, waltz across the water before flying off. Jennifer Berney, Outside Online, 7 Apr. 2023 Other interesting sightings were nine Northern pintails at the Monomoy Connector Beach, a hooded merganser at the Pogorelc Sanctuary in West Barnstable, a black skimmer at Menauhant Beach in Falmouth, and a white-eyed vireo at The Knob in Falmouth., 12 Aug. 2023 Warblers and hooded mergansers congregate here because the terrain is too rough for most everybody else. The Editors, Outside Online, 15 Apr. 2019 Highlights included a sooty shearwater and 16 Wilson’s storm-petrels off George’s Island in Boston Harbor, a bufflehead in Winthrop, a least bittern at Belle Isle in East Boston, and a hooded merganser and an alder flycatcher at Millennium Park in West Roxbury., 31 July 2021 But alas, the merganser was nowhere to be seen. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Feb. 2020 Ann Soderman, an officer of The Benjamin F. Goss Bird Club in Waukesha, saw a bald eagle, a hooded merganser and dozens of mallards along the lakeshore Thursday morning. Hannah Kirby, Journal Sentinel, 12 Jan. 2023 Three redheads, a northern pintail, and a Bonaparte’s gull at Turners Falls, three greater scaup and a red-breasted merganser at gate 22 at Quabbin Reservoir in New Salem, and a yellow-bellied sapsucker in Sunderland., 31 Dec. 2022 Four wandering trumpeter swans at Linwood Pond in Northbridge that have been seen in Worcester County in recent weeks, a red-breasted merganser and an Iceland gull at Flint Pond and five pine grosbeaks in Athol., 17 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'merganser.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin, from Latin mergus, a waterfowl (from mergere) + anser goose — more at goose

First Known Use

1668, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of merganser was in 1668

Dictionary Entries Near merganser

Cite this Entry

“Merganser.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


mer·​gan·​ser (ˌ)mər-ˈgan(t)-sər How to pronounce merganser (audio)
plural mergansers or merganser
: any of various fish-eating wild ducks with a slender bill hooked at the end and usually with a bunch of feathers on the head that point backward

More from Merriam-Webster on merganser

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