\ 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

Examples of owl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There's also Ajani Joe, a Black Rhino born in August, Amali the Bonobo born in July, a Verreaux's eagle owl named Ori who hatched in March, and many more to see. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, "Top 5 things to do in Cincinnati this weekend: May 7-9," 5 May 2021 Ori is a Verreaux's eagle owl, hatched March 12, 2021. cincinnati.com, "© Copyright Gannett 2021," 30 Apr. 2021 With its broad, hooked beak and wide eyes, the frogmouth — a nocturnal bird that is sometimes mistaken for an owl — is a striking sight. New York Times, "This ‘Angry’ Bird Is the Most Photogenic, Research Finds," 29 Apr. 2021 Milky eagle owls are the largest type of owl in Africa and are fierce hunters. Brook Endale, The Enquirer, "New owl chick hatched at the Cincinnati Zoo named Ori," 25 Mar. 2021 Rocky, the tiny owl found in the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, just got a children’s book. Los Angeles Times, "Book Club: Explore ‘The Island of Sea Women’ with Lisa See," 19 Dec. 2020 Such repetitions give the owl the air of being selected from a pre-approved list of Biden-camp anecdotes. Jo Livingstone, The New Republic, "There’s More to Hunter Biden Than a Laptop," 9 Apr. 2021 But what the owl's fans might not know is that back home in the Arctic, its habitat is seriously threatened. Cara Korte, CBS News, "The snowy owl spotted in Central Park is an at-risk species thanks to climate change," 30 Jan. 2021 When viewing from a vehicle, turn off the engine to avoid interfering with the owl's auditory hunting technique. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Snowy owls are back in Wisconsin, and spotting them is a social-distance friendly activity," 30 Nov. 2020

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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Owl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/owl. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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