: 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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web This owl sparingly occurs in high elevation ponderosa pine forest. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, 5 Dec. 2022 The shirts were white with the OVO owl and the Apollo Theater’s logo on the left chest with the original show flier printed on the entire back. Cydney Lee, Billboard, 22 Jan. 2023 The waning moon, hung in the sky; A great gray owl winged silently by. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Dec. 2022 The exhibit uses interactive graphics to teach about resilient forest residents including an observant owl called Great Gray and a fruiting fungus known as Fuzzy Foot. Open during museum hours through May 7, 2023. oregonlive, 21 Dec. 2022 An owl named Tyto escaped from the Fort Worth Zoo in 2013. Dallas News, 13 Jan. 2023 Legend has it, an owl once saved the townspeople from a fiery fate, which is why Dijon has sacred strigiformes depicted all over town. Lanee Lee, Condé Nast Traveler, 5 Jan. 2023 When archaeologists first found that thousands of owl-shaped slate tablets were interred in archaeological sites throughout the Iberian Peninsula, they were stumped. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 15 Dec. 2022 And depiction 3 is perhaps the one most heatedly debated among internet sleuths: An owl attacked her. Lauren Huff, EW.com, 10 Dec. 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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near owl

Cite this Entry

“Owl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/owl. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: any of an order of birds of prey that are active mainly at night and that have a broad head, very large eyes, and a powerful hooked beak and claws

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