pel·​i·​can | \ ˈpe-li-kən How to pronounce pelican (audio) \

Definition of pelican

: any of a genus (Pelecanus) of large web-footed fish-eating birds with a very large bill and distensible gular pouch

Examples of pelican in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Wildlife rehabilitators in Oconomowoc are requesting donations of fish to aid in the care of an injured white pelican. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 Jan. 2022 An American white pelican continued to frequent the vicinity of Cockeast Pond in Acoaxet, and at Gooseberry Neck in Westport, there was a king rail and a clay-colored sparrow., 17 Oct. 2021 An American white pelican, a common gallinule, and two common ravens were all seen on the island., 30 Oct. 2021 Among reports was an American white pelican in the Acoaxet area., 23 Oct. 2021 The pelican had extensive injuries and had to be euthanized, Ziccardi said. Los Angeles Times, 5 Oct. 2021 Bristol County: There was an American white pelican at Cockeast Pond in South Dartmouth, a Caspian tern and a clay-colored sparrow at Gooseberry Neck in Westport, and a sedge wren at Broad Cove in Somerset., 2 Oct. 2021 An American white pelican was photographed in flight over Mill Pond in Orleans., 22 Sep. 2021 Snow-white 30-pound birds called the American white pelican are on their semiannual migration through Illinois right now. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 20 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of pelican

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pelican

Middle English, from Old English pellican, from Late Latin pelecanus, from Greek pelekan

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Time Traveler for pelican

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

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Cite this Entry

“Pelican.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for pelican


pel·​i·​can | \ ˈpe-li-kən How to pronounce pelican (audio) \

Kids Definition of pelican

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on pelican

Nglish: Translation of pelican for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pelican for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pelican


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