from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A waterfowl (Branta leucopsis) of northern Europe and Greenland that breeds in the Arctic and has a white face with a black streak between the eyes and bill.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A black and white species of bird from the northern hemisphere, scientifically known as the Branta leucopsis
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. European goose smaller than the brant; breeds in the far north
MAX MUELLER38 has suggested that this word was really derived from Hibernicula, the name thus referring to Ireland, where the birds were caught; but common opinion associated the barnacle goose with the shell-fish known as the barnacle (which is found on timber exposed to the sea), supposing that the former was generated out of the latter.
 See F. MAX MUELLER'S Lectures on the Science of Language (1885), where a very full account of the tradition concerning the origin of the barnacle goose will be found.