Definitions

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

  • n. A New World plover (Charadrius vociferus) that has a distinctive noisy cry and two black bands across its breast.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A North American plover (Charadrius vociferus) with a distinctive cry and territorial behavior that includes feigning injury to distract interlopers from the nest.

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

  • n. American plover of inland waters and fields having a distinctive cry

Etymologies

Probably imitative of its call.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Imitative of the bird's call. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Lantz said the killdeer is a member of the plover, or shore bird family, and is common in Florida.

    Local News from Star-Banner

  • The sepulchral boom of the bittern, the shriek of the curlew, the scream of passing brant, the wrangling of quarrelsome teal, the sharp querulous protest of the startled crane, and syllabled complaint of the "killdeer" plover were beyond the power of written expression.

    The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Tales With Condensed Novels, Spanish and American Legends, and Earlier Papers

  • The sepulchral boom of the bittern, the shriek of the curlew, the scream of passing brent, the wrangling of quarrelsome teal, the sharp, querulous protest of the startled crane, and syllabled complaint of the "killdeer" plover, were beyond the power of written expression.

    Selected Stories of Bret Harte

  • I do not admit the right of the Mingoes to bestow a name on one whose friends have been mindful of his gifts, in this particular; especially as their title is a lie, "killdeer" being a grooved barrel and no carabyne.

    The Last of the Mohicans

  • When he saw his little band collected, the scout threw "killdeer" into the hollow of his arm, and making a silent signal that he would be followed, he led them many rods toward the rear, into the bed of a little brook which they had crossed in advancing.

    The Last of the Mohicans

  • The scout seized "killdeer" in his left hand, and elevating it about his head, he shook it in triumph at his enemies.

    The Last of the Mohicans

  • "Now let the devils strike our scent"! said the scout, tearing two rifles, with all their attendant accouterments, from beneath a bush, and flourishing "killdeer" as he handed Uncas his weapon; "two, at least, will find it to their deaths".

    The Last of the Mohicans

  • "Ha! that rampaging devil again! there will never be an end of his loping till" killdeer "has said a friendly word to him".

    The Last of the Mohicans

  • "These devils will scale heaven to circumvent us to our ruin", said Hawkeye; "keep him in play, boy, until I can bring" killdeer "to bear, when we will try his metal on each side of the tree at once".

    The Last of the Mohicans

  • Notwithstanding the lively interest Hawkeye had taken in the fate of his messenger, he received "killdeer" with a satisfaction that, momentarily, drove all other recollections from his mind.

    The Last of the Mohicans

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