Definitions

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

  • adj. Of or resembling a peacock.
  • adj. Resembling a peacock's tail in color, design, or iridescence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or pertaining to the genus Pavo or its sub-family Pavoninae, including the peafowl.
  • adj. Possessing the coloring or iridescence of a peacock feather.
  • adj. Resembling the tail of a peacock.
  • n. Tarnish found on some ores and metals which resembles the tail feathers of a peacock.
  • n. Any bird from the sub-family Pavoninæ.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Like, or pertaining to, the genus Pavo.
  • adj. Characteristic of a peacock; resembling the tail of a peacock, as in colors; iridescent.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to, resembling, or characteristic of a peacock; pavonian.
  • Resembling a peacock's tail in iridescence.
  • n. Peacock's-tail tarnish; the iridescent luster found on some ores and metallic products.

Etymologies

Latin pāvōnīnus, from pāvō, peacock.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin pāvōnīnus, from pāvō ("peacock"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Here Cooney calls Peter Osgood "pavonine", which my dictionary tells me means "of or resembling a peacock".

    Archive 2005-04-01

  • Scarce one of us domestic birds but imitates the lanky, pavonine strut, and shrill, genteel scream.

    The Book of Snobs

  • We made a general reconnaisance (December 27th) of a place whence specimens of pavonine quartz had come to hand.

    The Land of Midian

  • It suggested Thecla's book, in which I had read it; and that, in turn, the great volume of pavonine leather the old Autarch had shown me when I had asked him the way to the garden, when he, having been told of me, supposed that I had arrived to replace him and would go to plead for Urth at once.

    The Urth of the New Sun

  • She wore a pavonine brocade gown of amazing richness and raggedness, and as I watched her, the sun touched a rent just below her waist, turning the skin there to palest gold.

    The Shadow of the Torturer

  • A quick twist took Agia out of her pavonine gown; it lay about her brown, dusty feet like a heap of precious stones.

    The Shadow of the Torturer

  • These things with tales of sombre clouds and shining skies and whisperings of strange creatures dancing timidly in pavonine twilights, he traced upon the ivory keys of his instrument and the world was richer for a poet.

    Chopin : the Man and His Music

  • The bas-reliefs on this low screen are groups of peacocks and lions, two face to face on each panel, rich and fantastic beyond description, though not expressive of very accurate knowledge either of leonine or pavonine forms.

    Stones of Venice [introductions]

  • Some bird species restricted to this ecoregion or found in few other places in Amazonia include ashy-tailed swifts (an austral migrant, Chaetura andrei), blue-tufted starthroats (Heliomaster furcifer), pavonine quetzals (Pharomachrus pavoninus), white-eared jacamars (Galbalcyrhynchus leucotis), endemic ochre-striped antpittas (Grallaria dignissima), curassows (Mitu salvini), a terrestrial bird, and golden-winged tody-flycatchers (Todirostrum calopterum).

    Solimões-Japurá moist forest

  • 9 Scholz, Beweis, dass es eine Seelenwanderung bei den Thieren giebt. forces, whether those were a leonine magnanimity of courage, a vulpine subtlety of cunning, or a pavonine strut of vanity.

    The Destiny of the Soul A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life

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Comments

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  • interesting.

    April 27, 2011

  • This word was chosen as Wordnik word of the day.

    November 11, 2009

  • From the OED:

    (a.) Resembling the neck or tail of a peacock in colouring or iridescence.

    1991 R. CONDON Final Addiction 211
    He was put down on a beach which overlooked a pavonine sea on which slumped the guilty tanker, Bergquist, impaled on its villainous reef.

    June 28, 2007