Definitions

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

  • n. A kingfisher, especially one of the genus Halcyon.
  • n. 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.
  • adj. Calm and peaceful; tranquil.
  • adj. Prosperous; golden: halcyon years.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. 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.
  • n. A tropical kingfisher of the genus Halcyon, such as the sacred kingfisher Halcyon sancta of Australia.
  • adj. Pertaining to the halcyon or kingfisher
  • adj. Calm, undisturbed, peaceful, serene.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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.
  • adj. 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.
  • adj. Hence: Calm; quiet; peaceful; undisturbed; happy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An old and poetical name of the kingfisher.
  • n. In ornithology: A kingfisher of the subfamily Halcyoninæ or Dacelouinæ, and especially of the genus Halcyon: as, the white-headed halcyon, Halcyon semicœrulea.
  • n. [capitalized] [NL.] The typical genus of kingfishers of the subfamily Halcyoninæ.
  • n. 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. idyllically calm and peaceful; suggesting happy tranquillity
  • n. a large kingfisher widely distributed in warmer parts of the Old World
  • n. (Greek mythology) a woman who was turned into a kingfisher
  • adj. marked by peace and prosperity
  • n. 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

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.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin halcyon ("kingfisher"), alcyon, from Ancient Greek ἀλκυών (alkuōn). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Really beautiful poem!

    September 22, 2011

  • If it's derived from Greek it ought to be HAL-kee-on, or actually probably HAL-kae-on

    July 29, 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

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

    July 21, 2008

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

    April 8, 2008

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

    April 8, 2008

  • Yep.

    October 12, 2007

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

    October 12, 2007

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

    October 9, 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

  • 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

  • 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