tern

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noun \ˈtərn\

Definition of tern

  1. :  any of various chiefly marine birds (subfamily Sterninae of the family Laridae and especially genus Sterna) that differ from the related gulls in usually smaller size, a more slender build, a sharply pointed bill, narrower wings, and an often forked tail

Illustration of tern

Origin and Etymology of tern

of Scandinavian origin; akin to Dan terne tern


First Known Use: 1678


TERN Defined for English Language Learners

tern

play
noun \ˈtərn\

Definition of tern for English Language Learners

  • : a kind of bird that lives near the ocean, is usually black and white, and has long wings and a tail with two points


TERN Defined for Kids

tern

play
noun \ˈtərn\

Definition of tern for Students

  1. :  a small slender seagull with a white body, narrow wings, and the top of the head black


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