per·​e·​grine | \ ˈper-ə-grən How to pronounce peregrine (audio) , -ˌgrēn \

Definition of peregrine

: having a tendency to wander

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The current meaning of peregrine has wandered a bit from its earlier meanings. The word originally meant "foreign," as did its Latin predecessor peregrinus. But even before peregrine appeared on its own in English, it was part of the name of that well-known bird of prey, the peregrine falcon. The bird's appellation derives from "falco peregrinus"—literally, "pilgrim falcon" in Medieval Latin. Peregrine falcons typically nest in high places, such as on cliff ledges or, in modern times, city skyscrapers. Because of the nests' inaccessibility, medieval falconers who wanted young peregrine falcons to train had to capture them on their first flights or migratory "pilgrimages." That practice led to a new sense of "peregrine" ("engaged in or traveling on a pilgrimage"), which was later broadened to "wandering."

Examples of peregrine in a Sentence

a loyal cadre of peregrine workers who follow the presidential candidate from primary to primary
Recent Examples on the Web In recent weeks, fans of the peregrine falcons have watched death, lust and birth play out from the comfort of their homes. Andres Picon, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 May 2022 In Berkeley, Annie and Alden, a pair of peregrine falcons, are incubating three eggs atop UC Berkeley’s Campanile bell tower. Andres Picon, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Apr. 2022 Today, the only tenants are the peregrine falcons atop the building, circling nearby in close formation. Matthew Healey,, 12 Apr. 2022 The partial closure is meant to protect a nest of peregrine falcons by limiting rock climbing, and other activities, in the area which may disturb the nest. Adam Terro, The Arizona Republic, 15 Mar. 2022 Grinnell, one of two peregrine falcons that lived on the towering Campanile at UC Berkeley, was found dead in downtown Berkeley on Thursday afternoon, Cal Falcons said. Lauren Hernández, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 Mar. 2022 Since then, officials said, several peregrine falcons have nested, but no pair had successfully hatched chicks until last spring. Washington Post, 22 Oct. 2021 Monk continued until 1989, when his success restoring the peregrine population induced a career change. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Nov. 2021 They were imperiled in May when first their mother, then their father a few days later, abandoned the eyrie where birders have flocked for years to watch one generation after another of peregrine falcons hatch and fledge. oregonlive, 26 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'peregrine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of peregrine

1599, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for peregrine

Middle French peregrin, from Medieval Latin peregrinus, from Latin, foreign — more at pilgrim

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peregrine falcon

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Peregrine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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