\ 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 For starters, the film opens with a very odd Sonic origin story: he was raised on a magical island... by a mysterious talking owl named Littlefoot. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Sonic the Hedgehog film review: You can slow your roll, Sega fans," 12 Feb. 2020 Back at the hospital, security manager Randall has tried putting out a big fake owl, but the birds saw right through that. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "'You dirty dog’: Rock-dropping birds break glass in a Kenai Peninsula parking lot," 28 Oct. 2019 Somewhere in the darkness comes the muffled call of a male owl. Phuong Le, The Know, "Government’s controversial owl killings spur moral questions about human intervention," 19 Oct. 2019 Somewhere in the darkness comes the muffled call of a male owl. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Owl killings spur moral questions about human intervention," 14 Oct. 2019 Early last November, Ventura County Fire Department crews working on the Maria Fire spotted something unusual, an owl hopping on the ground. Paul Vercammen, CNN, "An owl injured during a California wildfire has returned to the wild," 26 Feb. 2020 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

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

21 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Owl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/owl. Accessed 3 Apr. 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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