snowy owl


: a large ground-nesting diurnal arctic owl (Nyctea scandiaca) that enters the chiefly northern parts of the U.S. in winter and has plumage that is sometimes nearly pure white but usually with brownish spots or bars

Illustration of snowy owl

Illustration of snowy owl

Examples of snowy owl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Owl ring bearers have become more popular at British weddings in the years since the success of the Harry Potter books and movies, in a nod to Hedwig, Harry’s snowy owl that delivered mail without an address, bird trainer Ryan Stocks said. Cathy Free, Washington Post, 3 Mar. 2024 The refuge — home to grizzly and polar bears, snowy owls, migratory birds, and herds of moose and caribou — is the nation's largest remaining expanse of unspoiled wilderness. Harold Maass, The Week, 7 Sep. 2023 The refuge in the northeastern corner of Alaska is home to grizzly and polar bears, snowy owls, migratory birds and herds of moose and caribou. Lisa Friedman, New York Times, 6 Sep. 2023 Bristol County: The luminaries featured a greater white-fronted goose in Easton, a continuing Eurasian wigeon at The Sawmill in Acushnet, a snowy owl in New Bedford, and a yellow-breasted chat at Egypt Lane in Fairhaven., 8 Jan. 2022 These hatchings are a major celebration for the future of snowy owls and increasing their populations. Megan Becka, cleveland, 9 Aug. 2023 Owls are nocturnal hunters, and not letting an animal out at night eliminates the threat of a great horned owl or snowy owl mistaking a pet for prey. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 31 July 2023 The thing that really got me to the outskirts of L.A. was a snowy owl. Degen Pener, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 June 2023 For more on snowy owls in Wisconsin, visit and search for snowy owl. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 22 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'snowy owl.' 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

1781, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of snowy owl was in 1781

Dictionary Entries Near snowy owl

Cite this Entry

“Snowy owl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

snowy owl

: a large chiefly arctic owl that nests on the ground and is white or white spotted with brown

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