Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several usually white herons of the genera Bubulcus, Casmerodius, Egretta, and related genera, characteristically having long, showy, drooping plumes during the breeding season.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various wading birds of the genera Egretta or Ardea that includes herons, many of which are white or buff, and several of which develop fine plumes during the breeding season.
  • n. A plume or tuft of feathers worn as a part of a headdress, or anything imitating such an ornament; an aigrette.
  • n. The flying feathery or hairy crown of seeds or achenes, such as the down of the thistle.
  • n. A kind of ape with a plume on the head.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The name of several species of herons which bear plumes on the back. They are generally white. Among the best known species are the American egret (Ardea egretta syn. Herodias egretta); the great egret (Ardea alba); the little egret (Ardea garzetta), of Europe; and the American snowy egret (Ardea candidissima).
  • n. A plume or tuft of feathers worn as a part of a headdress, or anything imitating such an ornament; an aigrette.
  • n. The flying feathery or hairy crown of seeds or achenes, as the down of the thistle.
  • n. A kind of ape.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A name common to those species of herons which have long, loose-webbed plumes, forming tufts on the head and neck, or a flowing train from the back.
  • n. A heron's plume.
  • n. A topknot, plume, or bunch of long feathers upon the head of a bird; a plumicorn: as, the egrets of an owl.
  • n. Same as aigret, 2.
  • n. In botany, the flying, feathery, or hairy down of seeds, as the down of the thistle.
  • n. A monkey, Macacus cynomolgus, an East Indian species commonly seen in confinement.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of various usually white herons having long plumes during breeding season

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French aigrette, from Old Provençal aigreta, from aigron, heron, of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman egret, Old French aigrette ("egret"), from Old Provençal aigreta, diminutive of aigron ("heron"), from Frankish *haigro (“heron”). Cognate with Old High German heigaro ("heron"), Old English hrāgra ("heron"). More at heron. (Wiktionary)

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