shear·​wa·​ter ˈshir-ˌwȯ-tər How to pronounce shearwater (audio)
: any of numerous oceanic birds (especially genus Puffinus) that are related to the petrels and usually skim close to the waves in flight

Examples of shearwater in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Audubon’s shearwater, a seabird named for John James Audubon, also will get a new name. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 6 Nov. 2023 That means the Audubon’s shearwater, a bird found off the coast of the southeastern United States, will no longer have a name acknowledging James John Audubon, a famous bird illustrator and a slave owner who adamantly opposed abolition. Katrina Miller, New York Times, 1 Nov. 2023 Two Caspian terns at West Beach in Westport and another Caspian tern at Broad Cove in Somerset, and two great cormorants, two great shearwaters, and four purple martins at Gooseberry Neck in Westport., 2 Sep. 2023 And amid a tornado of shearwaters, murres, gulls and pelicans, all working on the hapless baitfish pushed to the surface by the salmon. Bill Monroe, oregonlive, 4 Aug. 2023 Among the birds counted on a seabird survey at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary were 75 great shearwaters, 16 sooty shearwaters, 2,200 Wilson’s storm-petrels, two red phalaropes, and five parasitic jaegers., 5 Aug. 2023 Indeed, the flesh-footed shearwater has one of the highest plastic ingestion rates of any species yet studied. Matthew Savoca, The Conversation, 21 Mar. 2023 Read full article Bristol County: Six great shearwaters and three Wilson’s storm-petrels at Gooseberry Island in Westport, and six late ruddy ducks at South Watuppa Pond in Fall River. Isabela Rocha,, 1 July 2023 The team studied 58 Cory’s shearwaters that had died from colliding with buildings in the Azores archipelago in Portugal and 27 northern fulmars that were shot in collaboration with Inuit hunters in Baffin Bay, Canada. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Apr. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1671, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shearwater was circa 1671

Dictionary Entries Near shearwater

Cite this Entry

“Shearwater.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


shear·​wa·​ter ˈshi(ə)r-ˌwȯt-ər How to pronounce shearwater (audio)
: any of numerous marine birds related to the petrels and albatrosses that often skim close to the water during flight

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