peregrine

adjective
per·​e·​grine | \ˈper-ə-grən, -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

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 Idaho proclaimed the peregrine falcon its official raptor in 2004. Bill Monroe, OregonLive.com, "Oregon Legislature names osprey; keeps meadowlark," 14 July 2017 The nearly mile-long bluff rises 400 feet above Lake Pepin (a wide spot in the Mississippi) and is one of only six bluffs on the river where peregrine falcons nest naturally. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Great River Road is perfect for a great Wisconsin road trip," 13 July 2017 But this year — for the first time in their relationship — the peregrine falcon parents will be flying solo. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Why Mt. Clemens peregrine falcons will be empty-nesters this year," 3 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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Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for peregrine

The first known use of peregrine was in 1599

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