\ ˈau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce owl (audio) \

Definition of owl

: any of an order (Strigiformes) of chiefly nocturnal birds of prey with a large head and eyes, short hooked bill, strong talons, and soft fluffy often brown-mottled plumage

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Examples of owl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Concealed within these forests are Tengalman’s owl, capercaillie and black woodpecker. Smithsonian, "Explore Catalonia’s Most Beautiful Nature Parks," 15 June 2018 This one found that a man's chest was flagged, but a man's chest next a 50% scale owl went unnoticed. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How Kevin Hart tweeted himself out of a job hosting the Oscars," 8 Dec. 2018 Now, with several designs, including the deer, owl, peacock, and various cacti, her dream of helping others create a magical ambiance at home is a reality. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "These Beautiful Peacock Lights Are Inspired By Pop-Up Books," 15 Nov. 2018 The shirtless pair create various noises that sound like whales, owls, and fish with their bare bellies. Eileen Reslen, Country Living, "'America's Got Talent' Fans Are Seriously Upset About Last Night's Episode," 8 Aug. 2018 But are there any problems related to being a lark or owl, other than scheduling difficulties? Smithsonian, "Bad News, Night Owls: You Might Have a Higher Risk of Dying Early," 14 Apr. 2018 Many stayed after the lunch to get a photo with two of the zoo's superstars: Mr. Miyagi, a Eurasian eagle owl, and Amy Rose, an African hedgehog. . . . . . . . Sue Strachan, NOLA.com, "WWE superstars make the right moves at Susan G. Komen Salute to Survivors luncheon," 7 Apr. 2018 The designer's tree—dubbed the Tree of Love—has a celestial theme, and according to the Standard, is decorated with six different animals, including an owl, horse, peacock, dove and mouse. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "Diane von Furstenberg's Claridge's Christmas Tree Is All About Love," 27 Nov. 2018 Akiba Fukurou Owl Cafe Akiba Fukurou is great for families with children and animals lovers of all kinds, especially those easily entranced by the delicate frames and all-seeing eyes of owls. Davey Young, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Akihabara: Our Guide," 5 Mar. 2018

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for owl

Middle English owle, from Old English ūle; akin to Old High German uwila owl

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Dictionary Entries near owl


owing to



owl's clover

owl butterfly


Statistics for owl

Last Updated

5 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for owl

The first known use of owl was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for owl



English Language Learners Definition of owl

: a bird that usually hunts at night and that has a large head and eyes, a powerful hooked beak, and strong claws


\ ˈau̇l How to pronounce owl (audio) \

Kids Definition of owl

: a large bird with big head and eyes, hooked bill, and strong claws that is active at night and feeds on small animals

Other Words from owl

owlish adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on owl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with owl

Spanish Central: Translation of owl

Nglish: Translation of owl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of owl for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about owl

Comments on owl

What made you want to look up owl? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of returning to life

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