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

  • noun A substance composed chiefly of the dung of seabirds or bats, accumulated along certain coastal areas or in caves and used as fertilizer.
  • noun Any of various similar substances, such as a fertilizer prepared from ground fish parts.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To manure with guano.
  • noun A fertilizing excrement found on many small islands in the Southern Ocean and on the western coast of Africa, but chiefly on islands lying near the Peruvian coast.
  • noun A fertilizer made from fishes. See fish-manure.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A substance found in great abundance on some coasts or islands frequented by sea fowls, and composed chiefly of their excrement. It is rich in phosphates and ammonia, and is used as a powerful fertilizer.

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

  • noun Dung from a sea bird or from a bat.

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

  • noun the excrement of sea birds; used as fertilizer


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

[Spanish, from Quechua huanu, dung.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Spanish guano, from Quechuan huanu ("dung").


  • The guano is harvested and mixed with saliva from kimodo lizards and allowed to grow to fruition within the alimentary canals of squids culled from the Ganges and is then scraped from the ink sacs and placed in vats filled with duck heads. 23 hours later a judge emerges, ready to think.


  • Among the farming community the word guano soon became a name to conjure with, and under this title many spurious and worthless manures were attempted to be palmed off on the unwary farmer.

    Manures and the principles of manuring

  • Great, too, are the resources of such stretches of land as the Atacama desert or the islands off the Pacific coast of South America whence guano is shipped to all quarters of the globe.

    Nationhood Within the Empire

  • The new manures which have lately been so fashionable are of both kinds: guano is the dung of sea birds, which has been accumulating for ages on islands off the western coasts of Africa and South America; and nitrate of soda and Humphrey's compound are mineral substances which are very efficacious in promoting vegetation.

    The Lady's Country Companion: or, How to Enjoy a Country Life Rationally

  • The islands are covered in birg droppings (50 metres deep in some places) called guano which is apparently a good fertilizer. Recent Updates

  • They carried coal from England to the East, guano from the Chincha Islands to England and France, petroleum from the Gulf Ports to Europe and South America and wool from Australia to England.

    Parva Sub Ingenti (Small Under the Great)

  • At that time, bird droppings—called guano—were, alongside corpses, the most valuable fertilizer around.

    The Fruit Hunters

  • At that time, bird droppings—called guano—were, alongside corpses, the most valuable fertilizer around.

    The Fruit Hunters

  • At that time, bird droppings—called guano—were, alongside corpses, the most valuable fertilizer around.

    The Fruit Hunters

  • Fritz Haber was a chemist who realized that there was soon going to be a crisis: the urgent need to find an artificial replacement for bird-droppings, aka guano fertilizer, on which Euro-food supplies depended.

    American Connections


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • This is the name of my dingy--the U.S.S. Guano.

    April 3, 2009

  • Is dingy an American spelling of dinghy, is it a typo, or has a pun flown over my head? (The O.E.D. does list it as a known spelling of dinghy, along with dingee, dinghee and dingey.)

    Edit: oh, now I see the list about misspellings...

    April 4, 2009

  • I prefer dunghy, which is like a dinghy, but has a larger poopdeck.

    April 4, 2009

  • Heh :-)

    April 4, 2009

  • I think dingy was a freudian typo. The U.S.S. Guano is a sad, sad vessel. She's inflatable. She looks and handles like a large hot dog.

    April 4, 2009

  • "Guanoed her mind by reading French novels."

    Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881), Sybil, bk. ii, ch.9

    September 20, 2009

  • Yes, well, the library selection is a bit limited on Nauru.

    September 20, 2009

  • I would imagine library holdings would be minimal on a tiny potato-shaped tropical island. I'd while away my time searching for seabeans and beautiful shells on the lovely beaches...

    I collect sea beans, a.k.a. tropical drift fruits and seeds and have contributed a substantial curated collection to a natural history museum I was once associated with....

    September 20, 2009