American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A small hawk (Accipter nisus) of Europe, Africa, and central Asia that has short, broad wings and preys on sparrows and other small birds.
- n. A small North American falcon (Falco sparverius) that hovers over fields and pastures, feeding chiefly on insects and mice. Also called American kestrel.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One of several small hawks which prey on sparrows and other small birds. A hawk of the genus Accipiter or Nisus. In Great Britain the name is appropriated to A. nisus, or Nisus fringillarius, about 12 inches long, closely related to the sharp-shinned hawk of America.
- n. In silver-working, a small anvil with two horns (one flat-sided and pyramidal, the other conical in form), held between the knees of the workman, for use in flanging, making bezels, etc.
- n. A species of small falcon, Falco sparverius, that preys on grasshoppers and small mammals.
- n. A small, short-winged European hawk, Accipiter nisus, that preys on smaller birds.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) The Australian collared sparrow hawk (Accipiter torquatus).
- n. small North American falcon
- n. small hawk of Eurasia and northern Africa
- From Middle English sparhauk, sperhauk, from Old English spearhafoc, spearhabuc ("sparrow-hawk"), equivalent to sparrow + hawk. Cognate with Danish spurvehøg ("sparrowhawk"), Swedish sparvhök ("sparrowhawk"), Icelandic sparrhaukur ("sparrowhawk"). (Wiktionary)
“Then he made at Sahim and struck at him with his tree, but Sahim avoided the blow and it fell harmless; whereat Sa’adan was wroth and throwing down the weapon, sprang upon Sahim and caught him in his pounces as the sparrow hawk catcheth up the sparrow.”
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