\ 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 Martin Scorsese, wise to most eventualities, dozed like an owl. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Oscars 2020: The Year of Bong Joon-ho (and Cow Insemination)," 10 Feb. 2020 Animal report: Hawthorne Lane After finding an owl tangled in fishing line around his koi pond at 8:25 a.m. Sept. 28, a man asked for police help. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "A wild owl is caught and a pet fox escapes: Russell Township Police Blotter," 11 Oct. 2019 Steven Sarro, a supervisory biologist and curator at the National Zoo, says an owl with bad vision won’t last long in the wild. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, "Why Don’t People Smile in Old Photographs? And More Questions From Our Readers," 11 July 2019 The owl's appearance this far south tends to be cyclical and food driven, Marsh said. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "More snowy owls spotted in Ohio," 4 Feb. 2020 Further, the presence in rice fields of certain trees such as neem (Azadirachta indica), whose leaves serve as a natural pesticide, and of predators such as the owl has been considered auspicious. Debal Deb, Scientific American, "The Struggle to Save Heirloom Rice in India," 16 Oct. 2019 In the winter, when the mouse population crashes, the owls turn to the storm petrels, which are just then arriving on the islands in large numbers. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Exterminating mice with poison would protect rare seabirds on Farallones, study says," 7 Oct. 2019 But once the bird was freed, the owl didn't fly away. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Washtenaw County shelter rescues owl caught in backyard soccer net," 13 Dec. 2019 The owl's appearance this far south tends to be cyclical and food driven, Marsh said. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Will Cincinnati see snowy owls this winter? They've been spotted in Ohio," 27 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for owl

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for owl

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Owl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/owl. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for owl


How to pronounce owl (audio)

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

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