tern

noun
\ ˈtərn How to pronounce tern (audio) \

Definition of tern

: 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

Illustration of tern

Examples of tern in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web According to company founder Kyle Clark, Alia’s striking configuration and elegant shape owes a debt to the longest-migrating bird in the world, the Arctic tern. Eric Adams, Wired, "A New Air Taxi Model Takes Design Cues From a Far-Flying Bird," 12 June 2020 Beta Technologies' Alia, which debuted Friday, draws inspiration from the ultra-efficient Arctic tern. Eric Adams, Wired, "A New Air Taxi Model Takes Design Cues From a Far-Flying Bird," 12 June 2020 One particularly committed tern made the trip in nearly 60,000 miles, or more than twice the circumference of the planet. Joel Sartore, National Geographic, "Arctic tern," 25 Feb. 2020 Revere: Just off Point of Pines, there were good numbers of shorebirds, four Manx shearwaters, and a royal tern. BostonGlobe.com, "Bird sightings across the region," 11 Aug. 2019 Some new islands built within lakes in inland Oregon did attract terns. Priyanka Runwal, New York Times, "A Silicon Valley Disruption for Birds That Gorge on Endangered Fish," 12 Nov. 2019 Observers spotted four Caspian terns at a park in Squantum. BostonGlobe.com, "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 14 Oct. 2019 On average, 211 baby terns were born each year, the researchers estimated. Priyanka Runwal, New York Times, "A Silicon Valley Disruption for Birds That Gorge on Endangered Fish," 12 Nov. 2019 Smaller islands in the Fox Island chain were once home to thriving colonies of black skimmers and royal terns, seabirds for whom the Chesapeake is a key stopping ground on the Atlantic Flyway. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "‘I can’t believe how much of it is gone:’ Chesapeake Bay Foundation says goodbye to Fox Island as seas rise," 1 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tern.' 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 tern

1678, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tern

of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish terne tern

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Cite this Entry

“Tern.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tern. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for tern

tern

noun
How to pronounce tern (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tern

: 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

noun
\ ˈtərn How to pronounce tern (audio) \

Kids Definition of tern

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

More from Merriam-Webster on tern

Nglish: Translation of tern for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tern

Comments on tern

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