Definitions

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

  • n. Any of various birds of the family Alcedinidae, characteristically having a crested head, a long stout beak, a short tail, and brilliant coloration.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various birds of the suborder Alcedines, having a large head, short tail and brilliant colouration; they feed mostly on fish.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of numerous species of birds constituting the family Alcedinidæ. Most of them feed upon fishes which they capture by diving and seizing them with the beak; others feed only upon reptiles, insects, etc. About one hundred and fifty species are known. They are found in nearly all parts of the world, but are particularly abundant in the East Indies.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Any bird of the extensive family Alcedinidæ.
  • n. Erroneously—2. The water-ouzel, Cinclus aquaticus, popularly imagined to be the female of the kingfisher Alcedo ispida. [Local, (Scotland and Ireland.]
  • n. The tern or sea-swallow. Also king's-fisher.

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

  • n. nonpasserine large-headed bird with a short tail and long sharp bill; usually crested and bright-colored; feed mostly on fish

Etymologies

king +‎ fisher (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But he was not to enjoy himself long, for the duck was telling all her neighbours about the ill-usage her little one had received; and the mischief-making little wagtail thought as he had seen the lanky bird eating what he called the kingfisher's fishes, he would go and tell, and then sit on the bank and see the quarrel there would be; for he considered that the heron had no more business to take the fish out of the pond than the toad had to catch flies.

    Featherland How the Birds lived at Greenlawn

  • Some think, as the original name racham denotes "tenderness," "affection," the halcyon or kingfisher is intended [Calmet].

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • The great blue kingfisher, which is common here, is so tame, as scarcely to move, as the boat passes, and we frequently saw, and passed close to large alligators, which generally appeared to be asleep, stretched on the half-floating logs.

    The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 10, No. 285, December 1, 1827

  • I began to wonder how the rattle of a kingfisher, which is one of the commonest sounds on wilderness waters, could scare a bear, who knows all the sounds of the wilderness perfectly.

    Secret of the Woods

  • Koskomenos the kingfisher is a kind of outcast among the birds.

    Secret of the Woods

  • She had found the description of it, as worn by Mrs. Titus W. Trout, in an American fashion paper; it was of what was described as kingfisher blue, and had lumps and wedges of lace round the edge of the skirt, and orange chiffon round the neck.

    Miss Mapp

  • Such, for instance, is the case with the hen kingfisher, which is one of the brightest of British birds and one of the very few which make their nests underground; the hen woodpecker, which is also gaily colored and builds in hollow trees, forms a second instance.

    A Book of Natural History Young Folks' Library Volume XIV.

  • The kingfisher is a sacred bird which should always be respected; knowing this, I let it alight and did not stir, for fear of frightening it.

    Laboulaye's Fairy Book

  • Even though guidebooks refer to the kingfisher as a common bird, it can be a challenge to find, although with its fish-oriented diet it is invariably found near water.

    StarTribune.com rss feed

  • What further inclined her to clemency, was that this very evening the crimson-lake tea-gown would shed its effulgence over Mrs. Poppit's bridge-party, and Diva would never want to hear the word "kingfisher" again.

    Miss Mapp

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