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

Definition of peregrine

: having a tendency to wander

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Did You Know?

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 Patrick Cashin has climbed the steep cables to the top of the Throgs Neck Bridge, where peregrine falcons circled above. David Gonzalez, New York Times, "Think You’ve Seen the Subway? Not Like This You Haven’t," 10 July 2020 The first two peregrine chicks of the season hatched over the weekend at one of the We Energies nesting boxes in Wisconsin. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "They're here! We Energies peregrine falcon cam shows first chicks of 2020 have hatched in Milwaukee," 3 May 2020 In Yosemite, for example, a biologist walks along the cliffs throughout the peregrine’s nesting season, spending hours gazing up at each potential nesting site. Ula Chrobak, Outside Online, "We're Overprotecting Birds at the Expense of Climbers," 12 July 2018 When the National Park Service put up signs and started a social media campaign to protect peregrine nests at Devil’s Courthouse, which is reached by trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway, the birds came back almost immediately. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Feisty and territorial falcons fly back to NC mountains. Climbers are getting credit.," 15 Feb. 2018 Last summer on another trip to the Brooks Range, there was a peregrine nest on a rock cliff near our camp. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "When a waterfowl hunter spends more on birdseed than shotgun shells," 23 Jan. 2018 Here's an opportunity to wet your whistle and support the organization - the Nongame Fund (part of the Indiana DNR Fish & Wildlife) - responsible for the comeback of the peregrine falcon in Indiana. Laura James-reim, Indianapolis Star, "Metazoa hosts Brews 4 Bats + Birds Fundraiser," 23 Aug. 2017 A wildlife conservation success story By the mid-1960s, no peregrine falcons were left east of the Mississippi River. Michigan Wildlife Council, Detroit Free Press, "Peregrine falcons back from brink of extinction," 7 Aug. 2017 The park is home to lots of wildlife, including hundreds of birds like warblers, loons, bald eagles and peregrine falcons, which visit throughout the year. Martha Stewart, star-telegram, "One of Martha’s favorite places on earth: Acadia National Park," 15 July 2017

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.

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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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The first known use of peregrine was in 1599

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Cite this Entry

“Peregrine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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