American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of several wading birds of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus, having mottled brownish plumage and a deep booming cry in the male.
- n. The bitter water solution of bromides, magnesium, and calcium salts remaining after sodium chloride is crystallized out of seawater.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A European wading bird, of the family Ardeidæ and subfamily Botaurinæ; the Botaurus stellaris, a kind of heron. It is about 2 feet long, is speckled, mottled, and freckled with several shades of blackish-brown, buff, etc., lives solitary in bogs and morasses, has a hollow guttural cry, and nests usually on the ground.
- n. Any heron of the subfamily Botaurinæ. The American bittern is Botaurus mugitans or B. lentiginosus. The very small rail-like herons of the genera Ardetta, Ardeola, etc., are called
littleor least bitterns; the European species is Ardetta minuta: the North American, A. exilis; and there are others. The tiger bitterns are beautifully striped species of the genus Tigrisoma, as T. brasiliensis.
- n. In salt-works, the brine remaining after the salt is concreted. This, after being ladled off and the salt taken out of the pan, is returned, and, being again boiled, yields more salt. It is used in the preparation of Epsom salt (the sulphate of magnesia) and Glauber salt (the sulphate of soda), and contains also chlorid of magnesium, and iodine and bromine.
- n. A very bitter compound of quassia, cocculus indicus, licorice, tobacco, etc., used for adulterating beer. Also called bittering.
- n. The liquor remaining after halite (common salt) has been harvested from saline water (brine).
- n. archaic A very bitter compound of quassia, cocculus indicus, etc., used by fraudulent brewers in adulterating beer.
- n. Several bird species in the heron family Ardeidae.
- n. One species tending to have a relatively short neck in comparison with the other members of the family.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) A wading bird of the genus Botaurus, allied to the herons, of various species.
- n. The brine which remains in salt works after the salt is concreted, having a bitter taste from the chloride of magnesium which it contains.
- n. A very bitter compound of quassia, cocculus Indicus, etc., used by fraudulent brewers in adulterating beer.
- n. relatively small compact tawny-brown heron with nocturnal habits and a booming cry; found in marshes
- From bitter with an unclear suffix, perhaps a dialect form of -ing. (Wiktionary)
- Alteration (perhaps influenced by tern1) of Middle English bitour, from Old French butor, possibly from Vulgar Latin *buti-taurus : Latin būtiō, buzzard + Latin taurus, bull (after its cry). From bitter. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The bittern is a secretive bird and its subtle colouring makes it hard to spot in its wetland surroundings – although its mating call, which can be heard several miles away, testifies to its presence.”
“Of the bittern, which is said to boom continually over the Friesland meres,”
“In bird terms, the bittern is the conservation success of the decade.”
“The bittern is a further wading bird; its cry is usually described as a "boom," and the first part of its name, from Latin butio, represents this.”
“As this mixture of substances naturally suggested the composition of the "mother liquors" from salt brines, Mr. Price made an analysis of such a sample of "bittern" from the Snow Hill furnace, Kanawha Co.,”
“It is manufactured from the magnesium bromide contained in "bittern" (the mother liquor of the salt industry), by two processes, the continuous and the periodic.”
“bittern" or "mother liquid," contains chiefly a concentration of the salts of magnesium and potassium.”
“Here is a curious item ” "In the month of June 1792 a chicken, 7s.; an Indian [a kind of bittern found in North America] 9s.; a dozen larks, 1 coron [? crown].”
“The loss of further reed beds led to the bittern declining once more.”
“The bittern was common in western and central Europe until the 19th century.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘bittern’.
A list of words that are odd or words that I have looked up.
birds with singular names from
at least 9 English dictionaries
Birds endemic to the United States and/or North America.
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some of the interesting words i've had to look up while reading 19th century lit
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All words spotted in 2008...
Words which I find interesting, or which I find myself using when others don't.
birds, esp. ones I have personally encountered or would like to
intriguing words from Washington Irving's "The Devil and Tom Walker"
Looking for tweets for bittern.