Definitions

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

  • noun A kingfisher, especially one of the genus Halcyon.
  • noun A fabled bird, identified with the kingfisher, that was supposed to have had the power to calm the wind and the waves while it nested on the sea during the winter solstice.
  • adjective Calm and peaceful; tranquil.
  • adjective Prosperous; golden.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An old and poetical name of the kingfisher.
  • noun In ornithology: A kingfisher of the subfamily Halcyoninæ or Dacelouinæ, and especially of the genus Halcyon: as, the white-headed halcyon, Halcyon semicœrulea.
  • noun [capitalized] [NL.] The typical genus of kingfishers of the subfamily Halcyoninæ.
  • noun Halcyon days (see below); calm; quietude.
  • Of, pertaining to, or connected with the halcyon or kingfisher.
  • Belonging to halcyon days (see below); calm; quiet; peaceful; undisturbed; happy.
  • Hence — Days of peace and tranquillity.

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

  • noun (Zoöl.) A kingfisher. By modern ornithologists restricted to a genus including a limited number of species having omnivorous habits, as the sacred kingfisher (Halcyon sancta) of Australia.
  • adjective Pertaining to, or resembling, the halcyon, which was anciently said to lay her eggs in nests on or near the sea during the calm weather about the winter solstice.
  • adjective Hence: Calm; quiet; peaceful; undisturbed; happy.

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

  • noun In classical legends, a bird said to nest on the sea, thereby calming the waters; later usually identified with a type of kingfisher, hence (poetic) a kingfisher.
  • noun zoology A tropical kingfisher of the genus Halcyon, such as the sacred kingfisher Halcyon sancta of Australia.
  • adjective Pertaining to the halcyon or kingfisher
  • adjective Calm, undisturbed, peaceful, serene.

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

  • adjective idyllically calm and peaceful; suggesting happy tranquillity
  • noun a large kingfisher widely distributed in warmer parts of the Old World
  • noun (Greek mythology) a woman who was turned into a kingfisher
  • adjective marked by peace and prosperity
  • noun a mythical bird said to breed at the time of the winter solstice in a nest floating on the sea and to have the power of calming the winds and waves

Etymologies

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

[Middle English alcioun, from Latin alcyōn, halcyōn, from Greek halkuōn, a mythical bird, kingfisher, alteration (influenced by hals, salt, sea, and kuōn, conceiving) of alkuōn.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin halcyon ("kingfisher"), alcyon, from Ancient Greek ἀλκυών (alkuōn).

Examples

  • Last Friday we had a very entertaining time of proofreading the Guide, aided by candy and fave tunes from the 80s provided by Miss Touch-Me Pod, whose little speaker recalls the halcyon days of AM transistor radios.

    Archive 2009-08-01

  • Last Friday we had a very entertaining time of proofreading the Guide, aided by candy and fave tunes from the 80s provided by Miss Touch-Me Pod, whose little speaker recalls the halcyon days of AM transistor radios.

    I'll Be Seeing You . . .

  • This is to say nothing of the Marine barracks massacre of 1983, and the innumerable attacks on U.S. embassies and installations around the world during what Obama now characterizes as the halcyon days of U. S.Islamic relations.

    Power and amnesia at the White House

  • At least I recall the halcyon days when we would go to the playground, and I could stand nearby in reasonable proximity.

    Thursday, Oct. 29 – The Bleat.

  • Recalling the halcyon days of early 2008, Hedgie momentarily forgot himself.

    Archive 2009-02-01

  • This is to say nothing of the Marine barracks massacre of 1983, and the innumerable attacks on U.S. embassies and installations around the world during what Obama now characterizes as the halcyon days of U. S.Islamic relations.

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

  • Currently residing in federal prison near Tucson, Arizona, Ziskin recalls the halcyon days of the late '90s, when club orphans like Paris and Brandon invariably fell under his de facto guardianship.

    Hollywood, Interrupted

  • The halcyon is a sacred bird, so I never stirred for fear I should scare it away.

    The Camp Fire Girls in the Outside World

  • For the halcyon was a fabled bird, whose nest floated upon the sea.

    A Portrait of Old George Town

  • Youth has been justly termed the halcyon era of life.

    North Carolina Schools and Academies 1790-1840 A Documentary History

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • mythical bird that was fabled to nest at sea about the time of the winter solstice and to calm the waves during incubation

    January 7, 2007

  • I love this word for its many meanings and uses. To add to the aforementioned...

    It also means:

    calm; peaceful; tranquil

    and

    rich; wealthy; prosperous

    and

    happy; joyful; carefree

    October 2, 2007

  • someone at work used this word in a conversation and brought the room to a silent pause.

    is there a word for that dangerous word that you've only seen in print but, because you've never heard it aloud, aren't sure how to pronounce? my work colleague nailed it, but i'm just saying.

    October 6, 2007

  • Halcyon is the most beautiful word in the English language.

    October 9, 2007

  • How the hell DO you pronounce it? HAL-see-on, right?

    October 12, 2007

  • Yep.

    October 12, 2007

  • I'm still tempted to say "hallie-con".

    April 8, 2008

  • Heard hallie-con only yesterday ... tv newsreader :-(

    April 8, 2008

  • Means anti-cyclone, so good weather in summer.

    July 21, 2008

  • Walt Whitman wrote a beautiful poem called Halcyon Days:

    Not from successful love alone,

    Nor wealth, nor honor'd middle age, nor victories of politics or war;

    But as life wanes, and all the turbulent passions calm,

    As gorgeous, vapory, silent hues cover the evening sky,

    As softness, fulness, rest, suffuse the frame, like freshier, balmier air,

    As the days take on a mellower light, and the apple at last hangs

    really finish'd and indolent-ripe on the tree,

    Then for the teeming quietest, happiest days of all!

    The brooding and blissful halcyon days!

    July 21, 2008