\ ˈau̇(-ə)l \

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

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 Underneath its branches are six animals, each symbolizing a different ideal: an owl for wisdom, a dove for peace, a horse for wisdom, a deer for gentleness, a peacock for beauty, a mouse for curiosity. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "See Diane von Furstenberg’s Seriously Chic London Christmas Tree," 27 Nov. 2018 Reminiscent of our favorite packaging from Limited Too (but much chicer, of course), the palette comes in a sleek, plastic case in the shape of an owl. Kristin Corpuz, Allure, "Sephora's Once Upon a Blockbuster Vault Is the Perfect Gift for Makeup Lovers," 22 Oct. 2018 If a cat and an owl can stay together like that, why can't Democrats and Republicans? Fox News, "Kavanaugh to speak to Senate Judiciary Committee staffers," 18 Sep. 2018 Did an owl do it? Plus: The world's biggest crypto scandal and the physicists who watched a clock tick for 14 years. Andrea Valdez, WIRED, "Top Stories in June 2018: An Alternate Theory About 'The Staircase'," 30 June 2018 The Staircase isn’t interested in theorizing who actually killed Kathleen (and includes only one offhand reference to the actually quite credible theory that an owl did) because its focus isn’t solving a mystery. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Queasy Verdict of The Staircase," 26 June 2018 Toucans are not native to South Florida, and Ruggieri had worried that Tiki would fall prey to an owl or hawk. Rafael Olmeda, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Tiki the wayward toucan returned to Flamingo Gardens," 21 June 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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Learn More about owl

Dictionary Entries near owl


owing to



owl's clover

owl butterfly


Statistics for owl

Last Updated

22 Feb 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 \

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).


very full or close together

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