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 But the original Audubon engraving of a pelican is vastly bigger than its half-page reproduction in Pelican. Verlyn Klinkenborg, The New York Review of Books, "A Noah’s Ark of Books," 1 Dec. 2020 Following a good-natured rhyme about a pelican, Defy heads inside with his men as Weff anxiously sits in the car, paralyzed by his OCD ticks. Nick Schager,, "Fargo recap: How low can you go?," 9 Nov. 2020 Her Embassy Suites painting includes a gigantic pelican, alligator and a row of corn, meant to symbolize the first inhabitants of the area. Doug Maccash | Staff Writer,, "Have you seen the magical 14-story mural that’s popped up on a downtown hotel?," 27 Oct. 2020 Lagniappe Tulane will showcase a retro logo that dates back to the 1920s on its helmets against UCF, with a pelican on a surfboard. G Smith,, "Notebook: Ben Knutson validated Tulane coaches' choice to move him to offensive tackle," 22 Oct. 2020 Adding to the whimsy, Stephenson topped the entrance pylons with a ceramic pelican on one and, on the other, a sign with two arrows — one Home and the other Beach, pointing in the respective directions. Caron Golden, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Two WaterSmart winners: surfin’ safari, and succulents," 3 Oct. 2020 Wildlife, including whales (in season), sea lions, and pelicans may be spotted along the way. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, "10 Scenic National Park Drives Everyone Should Do at Least Once," 12 Apr. 2020 In front of us, frigate birds and gray pelicans paraglided on the wind. Los Angeles Times, "On vacation in Puerto Vallarta? Head south on a jungle path for secluded beaches and pristine views," 7 Sep. 2019 Eriauchenius workmani is the most common type of pelican spider in Madagascar’s eastern rainforest. Sean Greene,, "A spider that hunts other spiders: 18 new species of this bizarre Madagascar arachnid are unveiled," 26 Jan. 2018

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pelican

Last Updated

13 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pelican.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for pelican


How to pronounce pelican (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pelican

: a large ocean bird that has a large bag that is part of its lower bill for catching and holding fish


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

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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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