\ ˈau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce owl (audio) \

Definition of owl

: any of an order (Strigiformes) of chiefly nocturnal birds of prey with a large head and eyes, short hooked bill, strong talons, and soft fluffy often brown-mottled plumage

Examples of owl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One owl perched on the Grant Monument in Lincoln Park. Morgan Greene, chicagotribune.com, 1 Feb. 2022 She was buried in Arma Veirana Cave in Italy 10,000 years ago with an eagle-owl talon, four shell pendants, and more than 60 shell beads with patterns of wear indicating that adults had clearly worn them for a long time beforehand. Briana Pobiner And Ryan Mcrae, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Dec. 2021 The remains of an infant known as Neve were found in the back of a cave adorned with 60 shell beads, four pendants and an eagle-owl talon. Rachel Elbaum, NBC News, 14 Dec. 2021 The disease killed an owl in Cache County last month, which was confirmed on May 11 through testing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. Jordan Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 May 2022 Throughout the case, strange and shocking details emerged, like the Petersons’ former neighbor alleging an owl could have killed Kathleen. Milan Polk, Men's Health, 19 May 2022 An owl’s head features a round face, ringed with feathers, that has evolved to function a bit like a satellite dish—collecting sound and channeling it to ears hidden on the side of the face. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Mar. 2022 Somehow, an owl had become completely entangled in the soccer net and was unable to free itself. Michael Hollan, Fox News, 23 Nov. 2021 That year, California poppies blanketed parts of the Antelope Valley, and the Carrizo Plain National Monument was dotted in tidy tips and owl’s clover. Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'owl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of owl

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for owl

Middle English owle, from Old English ūle; akin to Old High German uwila owl

Learn More About owl

Time Traveler for owl

Time Traveler

The first known use of owl was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near owl



owl's clover

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for owl

Last Updated

17 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Owl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/owl. Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for owl


\ ˈau̇l How to pronounce owl (audio) \

Kids Definition of owl

: a large bird with big head and eyes, hooked bill, and strong claws that is active at night and feeds on small animals

Other Words from owl

owlish adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on owl

Nglish: Translation of owl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of owl for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about owl


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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