rap·​tor ˈrap-tər How to pronounce raptor (audio)
: a carnivorous medium- to large-sized bird (such as a hawk, eagle, owl, or vulture) that has a hooked beak and large sharp talons and that feeds wholly or chiefly on meat taken by hunting or on carrion : bird of prey
: a usually small-to-medium-sized predatory dinosaur (such as a velociraptor or deinonychus)

Examples of raptor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The onlookers just watched the raptor try to pick off a duckling and run afoul of the mother duck. Natalie Krebs, Outdoor Life, 28 Feb. 2024 At just a few ounces and less than a foot tall, with long legs and big yellow eyes, these pint-sized raptors are one of the smallest owl species in the nation. Emily Alvarenga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Feb. 2024 Each year, the park holds a Bald Eagle Festival in early February complete with live raptors along with nest building and other activities. Mindy Sink, The Denver Post, 7 Feb. 2024 Stocks rescues wounded raptors, and his Owl Adventures is among more than 20 companies licensed to use barn owls in weddings and for educational purposes in Britain. Cathy Free, Washington Post, 3 Mar. 2024 Swainson’s hawk With one of the longest migrations of any American raptor, Swainson’s hawks travel in the spring from their wintering grounds in Argentina to breed in North America, with some reaching as far north as Alaska. Maura Fox, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Feb. 2024 The trail, called Halverson Bar or Halverson Lake Trail, is part of the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, and spring is an excellent time for watching raptors in the skies. Kae Lani Palmisano, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 Like many raptors, the vulture has keen eyesight, but also a highly developed and extraordinary sense of smell that can detect the odor of a dead animal from a mile or more away. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Dec. 2023 Per Raptor Events website, the raptor ring bearer package costs $1,200 plus travel costs and includes a rehearsal with the bird, ring bearer services, photos with the bird after the ceremony and a meet and greet with the ring bearer for guests. Sabienna Bowman, Peoplemag, 25 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'raptor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


(sense 1) after New Latin Raptores, former order name, going back to Latin, plural of raptor "plunderer, robber, a beast or bird of prey," from rapere "to seize and carry off, take away by force" + -tor, agent suffix; (sense 2) borrowed from New Latin -raptor (as in velociraptor) — more at rapid entry 1

First Known Use

1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of raptor was in 1873

Dictionary Entries Near raptor

Cite this Entry

“Raptor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raptor. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


rap·​tor ˈrap-tər How to pronounce raptor (audio)

Latin raptor "plunderer," from rapere "to seize"

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!