American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A large falcon (Falco rusticolus) of Arctic regions, having color phases that range from black to gray to white.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. See gerfalcon.
- n. obsolete Any large falcon, especially as used to fly at herons.
- n. A large bird of prey that breeds on Arctic coasts and islands of North America, Europe and Asia.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) One of several species and varieties of large Arctic falcons, esp. Falco rusticolus and the white species Falco Islandicus, both of which are circumpolar. The black and the gray are varieties of the former. See
- n. large and rare Arctic falcon having white and dark color phases
- From Old French gerfaucon (modern French gerfaut), with the first element probably from Old High German gīr ("vulture") (whence the German Geier). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English girfaucoun, from Old French girfaut, gerfaucon : Old High German gīr, vulture + Old French faucon, falcon; see falcon. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The bony fingers that grabbed her wrist this time had all the strength of a gyrfalcon.”
“At one time, the type of falcon an Englishman was allowed to own marked his rank: a king carried the gyrfalcon; an earl, the peregrine; a yeoman, the goshawk; the priest, the sparrow hawk; and a servant, the kestrel.”
“Last night the two had finally been spotted just before sunset, and the gryphon in question, a gyrfalcon-type with amazing speed, had come rushing back to the Vale as fast as she could with the news.”
“Cliffs along the Yukon and Porcupine Rivers support several raptor species, including osprey, gyrfalcon, Swainson's hawk, and the endangered American peregrine falcon.”
“The gyrfalcon held in its talons the quill of a peacock feather showing a brilliant eye, the blind eye of Chance.”
“I was not supposed to be a gyrfalcon; I was supposed to be a thrush.”
“He wore old hunting leathers stamped with a green fletch pattern, and a velvet hat with a golden gyrfalcon broach.”
“I had fancied myself a gyrfalcon or a fox, a hunter, when I was just an insignificant brown bird, a wren in borrowed plumage.”
“Not only do depictions of wildlife appear as art -- carved into the ice walls of the lodge's suites -- but wild reindeer, musk oxen, and gyrfalcon (the world's largest falcon) populate this alpine region.”
“Big – a first-year gyrfalcon – and little – a downy/pin-y merlin.”
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