American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various birds of the family Alcedinidae, characteristically having a crested head, a long stout beak, a short tail, and brilliant coloration.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Any bird of the extensive family Alcedinidæ. Kingfishers form a natural family of picarian birds, with fissirostral bill and syndactyl feet, and are remarkable for their number and variety as well as for the brilliancy of their plumage. They nest in holes, and lay white eggs. Their characteristic habit is to sit motionless on the watch for their prey, dart after it, and return to their perch. There are about 125 species and 20 genera, found in most parts of the world, but very unevenly distributed. Thus, there are only 2 species peculiar to northern parts of the old world, only 2 species in North America, and only one genus in all America. The Ethiopian region and the Indian region are about equally rich; the Australian (in a broad sense) is the richest, alone possessing half the genera and half the species. The common kingfisher of Europe, Alcedo ispida, a small bird of brilliant colors, is supposed to be the halcyon of classic writers. The pied kingfisher, Ceryle rudis, also inhabits Europe as well as other countries. The common American kingfisher, C. alcyon, is 12½ inches long, 22 in extent of wings, dull-blue above, white below, with a bluish belt on the breast and in the female a chestnut bar behind this; the wing-and tail-feathers are black, spotted and barred with white; the head is crested. This bird is known as the belted kingfisher. (See cut under
Ceryle.) A small, glossy green-and-white species, which reaches the Mexican border of the United States, is C. cabanisi. The giant kingfisher or laughing-jackass of Australia is Dacelo gigas. See cut under Dacelo.
- n. Erroneously—2. The water-ouzel, Cinclus aquaticus, popularly imagined to be the female of the kingfisher Alcedo ispida. [Local, (Scotland and Ireland.]
- n. The tern or sea-swallow. Also king's-fisher.
- n. Any of various birds of the suborder Alcedines, having a large head, short tail and brilliant colouration; they feed mostly on fish.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of birds constituting the family
Alcedinidæ. Most of them feed upon fishes which they capture by diving and seizing them with the beak; others feed only upon reptiles, insects, etc. About one hundred and fifty species are known. They are found in nearly all parts of the world, but are particularly abundant in the East Indies.
- n. nonpasserine large-headed bird with a short tail and long sharp bill; usually crested and bright-colored; feed mostly on fish
- king + fisher (Wiktionary)
“But he was not to enjoy himself long, for the duck was telling all her neighbours about the ill-usage her little one had received; and the mischief-making little wagtail thought as he had seen the lanky bird eating what he called the kingfisher's fishes, he would go and tell, and then sit on the bank and see the quarrel there would be; for he considered that the heron had no more business to take the fish out of the pond than the toad had to catch flies.”
“Some think, as the original name racham denotes "tenderness," "affection," the halcyon or kingfisher is intended [Calmet].”
“The great blue kingfisher, which is common here, is so tame, as scarcely to move, as the boat passes, and we frequently saw, and passed close to large alligators, which generally appeared to be asleep, stretched on the half-floating logs.”
“I began to wonder how the rattle of a kingfisher, which is one of the commonest sounds on wilderness waters, could scare a bear, who knows all the sounds of the wilderness perfectly.”
“Koskomenos the kingfisher is a kind of outcast among the birds.”
“She had found the description of it, as worn by Mrs. Titus W. Trout, in an American fashion paper; it was of what was described as kingfisher blue, and had lumps and wedges of lace round the edge of the skirt, and orange chiffon round the neck.”
“Such, for instance, is the case with the hen kingfisher, which is one of the brightest of British birds and one of the very few which make their nests underground; the hen woodpecker, which is also gaily colored and builds in hollow trees, forms a second instance.”
“The kingfisher is a sacred bird which should always be respected; knowing this, I let it alight and did not stir, for fear of frightening it.”
“Even though guidebooks refer to the kingfisher as a common bird, it can be a challenge to find, although with its fish-oriented diet it is invariably found near water.”
“What further inclined her to clemency, was that this very evening the crimson-lake tea-gown would shed its effulgence over Mrs. Poppit's bridge-party, and Diva would never want to hear the word "kingfisher" again.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘kingfisher’.
how king is used
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.
an immense, grandiloquent list that loads like a thousand years sentence in stone. new words are in the other lists.
Another news story about words being removed from a dictionary before their time. See also the list of words added to the dictionary.
being words from Tom Waits songs.
Words for things both tangible and nonanthropic
For stuff to simply reside.
These chromonyms are defined as colors in at least one dictionary (mostly MW3). (Actually there's one fake, for reasons I'll explain someday.) They are all one-word nouns such as "kelly", which can...
bird names that are fun to say
words that evoke magic, mystery, mayhem, magnificence or anything else that glimmers in the grass
Bird names and other bird-related words.
Looking for tweets for kingfisher.