os·​prey | \ ˈä-sprē How to pronounce osprey (audio) , -ˌsprā How to pronounce osprey (audio) \
plural ospreys

Definition of osprey

1 : a large fish-eating hawk (Pandion haliaetus) with long wings that is dark brown above and mostly pure white below
2 : 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

Also, take a short jaunt to see the giant osprey nest on Googins Island, which has been an active nest for many years. Pamela Wright, BostonGlobe.com, "8 state parks in New England to visit this fall," 3 Sep. 2019 But its cousin, the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is an even more spectacular case. Jennifer Weeks, The Conversation, "Saving endangered species: 5 essential reads," 13 Aug. 2019 But Shelter Island was in Mr. Pedersen’s bones, given his many years on the island — the salty sea air, the tall beach grass, the sand beneath the osprey nests. Robin Pogrebin, New York Times, "As His Wife Lay Dying, an Architect Brought Her Building to Life," 30 July 2019 One osprey hot spot is the Pointe Mouillee State Game Area, a 4,000-acre wetlands area on Lake Erie in Monroe County. Michigan Wildlife Council, Detroit Free Press, "Osprey outlook brightens in Southeast Michigan thanks to resident lookouts," 10 July 2019 Birdwatchers can find sought-after species for life lists, including bald eagles, osprey, the pileated woodpecker, waterfowl and songbirds. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan adds 1,000-acre forest near Au Sable to public lands," 8 Aug. 2019 Not just bald eagles, but fish-eaters like osprey and blue heron also once died out on the James. Tamara Dietrich, baltimoresun.com, "Bald eagles have come back from the dead in the Chesapeake Bay," 13 July 2019 The association monitors herring numbers to help find ways to increase the population of the fish, which are a food source for striped bass, bluefish, osprey, herons, and other coastal species. Johanna Seltz, BostonGlobe.com, "Volunteers count most river herring ever recorded at Herring Brook," 10 July 2019 Mallows Bay is already a popular tourist spot, where visitors can kayak through shipwrecks and observe an array of wildlife, including bald eagles and osprey. Nina Strochlic, National Geographic, "'Ghost fleet' of sunken warships declared a national marine sanctuary," 8 July 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for osprey

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

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Dictionary Entries near osprey







Ossa, Mount

Statistics for osprey

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for osprey

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

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English Language Learners Definition of osprey

: a large bird that eats fish


os·​prey | \ ˈäs-prē How to pronounce osprey (audio) \
plural ospreys

Kids Definition of osprey

: a large hawk that feeds chiefly on fish

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More from Merriam-Webster on osprey

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with osprey

Spanish Central: Translation of osprey

Nglish: Translation of osprey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about osprey

Comments on osprey

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to make a temporary encampment

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