American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various often nocturnal birds of prey of the order Strigiformes, having hooked and feathered talons, large heads with short hooked beaks, large eyes set forward, and fluffy plumage that allows for almost noiseless flight.
- n. Any of a breed of domestic pigeons resembling owls.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A raptorial nocturnal bird of prey of the family Strigidæ Owls constitute a highly monomorphic group, the suborder Striges of the order Raptores. With few exceptions, they are of distinctively nocturnal habits and a peculiar physiognomy produced by the great size and breadth of the head and the shortened face with large eyes looking forward and usually set in a facial ruff or disk of modified feathers, which hide the base of the bill. Many owls have also “horns “(that is, ear-tufts) or plumicorns. The bill is hooked, but never toothed, and the nostrils open at the edge of the cere, not in it. The plumage is very soft and blended, without aftershafts. and the flight is noiseless. The talons are large, sharp, and hooked as in other birds of prey; the outer toe is versatile; and the feet are usually feathered to the claws. (See cut under
braccate.) There are many anatomical characters. (See Striges.) Owls are among the most nearly cosmopolitan of birds. They feed entirely upon animal substances, and capture their prey alive, as small quadrupeds and birds, various reptiles, fishes, and insects. They lay from three to six white eggs of subspherical shape. There are about 200 species, assigned to some 50 modern genera, and now usually considered as constituting 2 families, Aluconidæ and Strigidæ, or barn-owls and other owls. See cuts under barn-owl, Bubo, Glaucidium, hawk-owl, Nyctala, Otus, snow-owl, and Strix.
- n. A variety of the domestic pigeon: so called from its owl-like physiognomy. The head is round, and the beak very short. There are several strains of owls, known as English, African, and Chinese. All run in various colors.
- n. A person whose pleasure or business it is to be up or about much at night.
- To carry on a contraband or unlawful trade at night or in secrecy; skulk about with contraband goods; smuggle; especially, to carry wool or sheep out of the country, at one time an offense at law.
- n. A dialectal form of wool.
- n. Sometimes applied to the barn-owl, Strix protincola, which is white below and when in flight seems almost entirely white. See cut at barn-owl.
- n. Any of various birds of prey of the order Strigiformes that are primarily nocturnal and have forward-looking, binocular vision, limited eye movement, and good hearing.
- n. A person seen as having owl-like characteristics, especially appearing wise or serious, or being nocturnally active.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) Any species of raptorial birds of the family
Strigidæ. They have large eyes and ears, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye. They are mostly nocturnal in their habits.
- n. (Zoöl.) A variety of the domestic pigeon.
- v. Prov. Eng. To pry about; to prowl.
- v. obsolete To carry wool or sheep out of England.
- v. engraving Hence, to carry on any contraband trade.
- n. nocturnal bird of prey with hawk-like beak and claws and large head with front-facing eyes
- Middle English owle, from Old English ūle, from Proto-Germanic *uwwalōn (compare West Frisian ûle, Dutch uil, Danish ugle), diminutive of *uwwōn ‘eagle-owl’ (compare German Uhu), variant of *ūfaz, *ūfōn (compare Swedish uv ‘horned owl’, Bavarian Auf), from Proto-Indo-European *up- (compare Latvian ũpis ‘eagle-owl’, Czech úpěti ‘to wail, howl’, Avestan ufyeimi ‘to call out’). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English owle, from Old English ūle, of imitative origin. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The cutter I used to make the owl is an Epilog Zing, which goes for around $8000.”
“Yes the owl is also one of our sacred creatures, the great healer, quiet and humble.”
“An owl flying over them locks in the message: The word owl búho was slang for prostitute.”
“The owl is an embodiment of her father, Zeus, and he tells her that the time is not yet here.”
“Whether you sleep tight or make like a night owl is up to you”
“Whether you sleep tight or play night owl is up to you”
“Hell, I told myself, if it leaves out Bubo, the mechanical owl from the original, then it already would be ahead of the game.”
“The owl is one of the anomalies of life on CPC-1, Centrica Energy's unsentimentally-named flagship rig in the heart of the South Morecambe gas field.”
“Guadalupe Storm-Petrel: barn owl is a cancer and developmental neurobiology researcher, medical educator, and frustrated natural historian; long-limbed, long digits, Northern European peasant and barbarian stock, lots of wild hair and prone to intellectual wild hares.”
“Surprisingly, when an owl is startled, it looks very similar to a turkey.”
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