Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A sea eagle, especially Haliaeetus albicilla of Europe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun dialectal, sciences An eagle.
  • noun An eagle with a distinctive white tail; specifically, the White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun bulky greyish-brown eagle with a short wedge-shaped white tail; of Europe and Greenland

Etymologies

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

[Middle English ern, eagle, from Old English earn; see or- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English ern, erne, earn, from Old English earn ("eagle"), from Proto-Germanic *arô (“eagle”), from Proto-Indo-European *or- (“large bird, eagle”). Cognate with Dutch and Low German arend ("eagle"), Danish ørn ("eagle"), Swedish örn ("eagle"), German Aar ("eagle"), Ancient Greek ὄρνεον, ὄρνις (órneon, órnis, "bird").

Examples

  • I was once of the opinion that there was a diversity of kind between the eagle and the erne, till I perceived that our nation used the word erne in most places for the eagle.

    Chronicle and Romance (The Harvard Classics Series)

  • I was once of the opinion that there was a diversity of kind between the eagle and the erne, till I perceived that our nation used the word erne in most places for the eagle.

    Of Wild and Tame Fowls. Chapter XIII. [1577, Book III., Chapters 9 and 11; 1587, Book III., Chapters 2 and 5

  • “An erne methought came in,” she says, “and swept adown the hall, and drenched me and all of us with blood, and ill shall that betoken, for methought it was the double of King Atli.”

    The Story of the Volsungs

  • Gunnar answered, “Never gettest thou that wealth; and men of might must thou meet here, or ever we lay by life if thou wilt deal with us in battle; ah, belike thou settest forth this feast like a great man, and wouldst not hold thine hand from erne and wolf!”

    The Story of the Volsungs

  • He answered, “Full oft do we slaughter beasts freely, and smite down great neat for our cheer, and the dream of the erne has but to do with oxen; yea, Atli is heart-whole toward us.”

    The Story of the Volsungs

  • The common people call this fowl an erne; but, as I am ignorant whether the word eagle and erne do shew any difference of sex, I mean between the male and the female, so we have great store of them.

    Chronicle and Romance (The Harvard Classics Series)

  • The common people call this fowl an erne; but, as I am ignorant whether the word eagle and erne do shew any difference of sex, I mean between the male and the female, so we have great store of them.

    Of Wild and Tame Fowls. Chapter XIII. [1577, Book III., Chapters 9 and 11; 1587, Book III., Chapters 2 and 5

  • Although they are not larger than a pigeon, they are not afraid to lay siege to an erne or a glaucus gull, and they will often do so as much for amusement as for gain.

    Viking Boys

  • Up that creek we ran, or rather paddled, therefore, knee deep in mud, but quite unseen by any but the great erne that fled over us crying.

    A Thane of Wessex

  • And this was terrible, that over the host wheeled erne and raven and kite, as knowing to what feast the flapping of yon Raven banner called them.

    Wulfric the Weapon Thane

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