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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web There are over 800 osprey nests across the state now. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 1 Dec. 2022 Rent a kayak from Paulou’s Beach and Kayak Rentals and set out on your own to skim the surface of serene Fort Bayou, a subtidal river that empties into the Gulf, and keep an eye out for osprey and other seabirds. Jennifer Kornegay, ajc, 15 Aug. 2022 In addition, The Cornell Lab points out that the osprey is the only hawk on the continent that eats live fish almost exclusively. Maureen Mackey, Fox News, 24 July 2022 Early migrants reported from Santuit Pond in Mashpee included a great-crested flycatcher and a blue-gray gnatcatcher, and other sightings included a blue-winged teal, 68 ring-necked ducks, 2 bald eagles, and 16 osprey. BostonGlobe.com, 13 Apr. 2022 The department reported most recently in 2020 that 126 osprey nests were reported to be active in the state. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 30 Mar. 2022 In one breath, your guide might point out an osprey or a majestic heron and, in the next, describe the square footage and multimillion-dollar glamour of some of the homes lining the lakes. Joy Wallace Dickinson, orlandosentinel.com, 23 Jan. 2022 Tibet-Butler Preserve serves as a green space in the shadow of Walt Disney World that provides a haven for turtles, alligators, songbirds and osprey. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, 31 Dec. 2021 One of them is the osprey, nesting on all continents except Antarctica. Jim Williams, Star Tribune, 18 May 2021 See More

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.

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 6 Dec. 2022.

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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