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 Those tuning in on Zoom or Facebook Live will get to see appearances from kestrels (small falcons), a bald eagle, a screech-owl and an osprey. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, "Learn about birds of prey with Maitland Audubon Center’s virtual Bird Bash," 28 Aug. 2020 Above me, an osprey circles calmly in the sky, scanning the blue for a meal. Southern Living, "The Ultimate Guide to the Great Calusa Blueway," 12 July 2020 The morning started with the cries of a pair of courting osprey wheeling and diving overhead. William Sargent, The Christian Science Monitor, "Of plovers and pandemics: Reflections on resilience from Sandy Point," 28 Apr. 2020 One of my personal favorites is a cam trained on an osprey nest built atop a crane at a former shipyard in Richmond, CA. Nicole Clausing, Sunset Magazine, "I Tried Quarantine Birding—and It’s Surprisingly Rewarding," 14 Apr. 2020 Bird watching: White pelicans and waterfowl are common in late winter, and boaters make occasional sightings of migratory ospreys and a resident bald eagle. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Sunday getaway to San Pablo Reservoir," 9 Feb. 2020 The 2019 Wisconsin bald eagle and osprey nesting report lists 1,684 occupied eagle nests in the state. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Bald eagle numbers are soaring across Wisconsin — except in one county," 29 Jan. 2020 And walk along Klamath Beach to search for lamprey eels, Chinook salmon, eagles, osprey, pelicans and sea lions. Sarah Sekula, USA TODAY, "California redwood road trip: 5 memorable ways to experience the massive trees," 13 Feb. 2020 While broad-wings are the big show, other species commonly seen during the fall migrations include falcons, sharp-shinned hawks, American kestrels, ospreys, and northern harriers. BostonGlobe.com, "“They’re power fliers. They head out over open water and island hop to Nantucket, Long Island, and so on. They’re not intimidated by water like buteos are.”," 10 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for osprey

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for osprey

Last Updated

31 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Osprey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/osprey. Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for osprey


How to pronounce osprey (audio) How to pronounce osprey (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on osprey

Nglish: Translation of osprey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about osprey

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