os·​prey ˈä-sprē How to pronounce osprey (audio) -ˌsprā How to pronounce osprey (audio)
plural ospreys
: a large fish-eating hawk (Pandion haliaetus) with long wings that is dark brown above and mostly pure white below
: a feather trimming used for millinery

Illustration of osprey

Illustration of osprey
  • osprey 1

Examples of osprey in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Visitors to the Headlands may experience sightings of the many wild animals native to the area including: bald eagles, osprey, white tail deer, wild turkeys, coyotes and occasionally a black bear. Brian Manzullo, Detroit Free Press, 10 May 2024 Explore the natural habitats of native and exotic animals, including osprey, eagles, dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles. Jp Shaffer, Miami Herald, 3 Apr. 2024 Best Things to Do Big Talbot Island State Park Big Talbot Island State Park is home to black skimmers, endangered wood storks, and ospreys, but the real showstopper here is Boneyard Beach, one of the most beautiful places in Florida. Carrie Honaker, Travel + Leisure, 20 Mar. 2024 Learn why Worster Lake is a stopover habitat for migratory birds and why ospreys choose Potato Creek. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 21 Mar. 2024 Throughout your visit, be sure to keep your eyes on the skies along with the water, as Lake Sammamish also serves as a major draw for birds of prey ranging from the red-tailed hawk to the osprey. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 28 Feb. 2024 There's a large osprey presence in that section of New Jersey, according to the power company. Aliza Chasan, CBS News, 16 Aug. 2023 In the meantime, in the sunshine and under the blue sky, on the banks of the unruffled Potomac River, an osprey circled lazily overhead. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 26 Dec. 2023 With a body length of nearly 3 feet and a wingspan of about 6 feet, the 3-pound turkey vulture is the fourth-largest bird species in North America, being slightly larger than the osprey, but smaller than other raptors such as golden and bald eagles and its gigantic cousin, the California condor. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Dec. 2023

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

Word History


Middle English ospray, from Anglo-French *osfraie, from Latin ossifraga, a bird of prey

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of osprey was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near osprey

Cite this Entry

“Osprey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/osprey. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


os·​prey ˈäs-prē How to pronounce osprey (audio) -ˌprā How to pronounce osprey (audio)
plural ospreys
: a large hawk that is dark brown above and mostly white below and that feeds chiefly on fish

called also fish hawk

More from Merriam-Webster on osprey

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