Definition of pelican
: any of a genus (Pelecanus) of large web-footed fish-eating birds with a very large bill and distensible gular pouch
Recent Examples of pelican from the Web
Parker said the group's volunteers rescued 17 pelicans from January through March.
Because pelicans incubate their eggs by essentially standing on them, the eggs would crack under the parents' feet.
The ‘90s saw the worst of such die-offs, including a four-month apocalypse in 1996 that killed 14,000 birds, nearly 10,000 of which were massive pelicans whose carcasses workers burned 24 hours a day for weeks on end.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pelican'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of pelican
Middle English, from Old English pellican, from Late Latin pelecanus, from Greek pelekan
First Known Use: before 12th century
PELICAN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of pelican for English Language Learners
: a large ocean bird that has a large bag that is part of its lower bill for catching and holding fish
PELICAN Defined for Kids
Definition of pelican for Students
: a large bird with webbed feet and a very large bill having a pouch on the lower part used to scoop in fish for food
Seen and Heard
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