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

  • noun Any of various large, web-footed birds of the genus Pelecanus primarily of tropical and warm regions, having a long straight bill from which hangs a distensible pouch of skin used for catching and holding fish.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A large piscivorous natatorial bird of the family Pelecanidæ and genus Pelecanus, having an enormously distensible gular pouch.
  • noun A chemical glass vessel or alembic with a tubulated capital, from which two opposite and crooked beaks pass out and enter again at the belly of the cucurbit.
  • noun A six-pounder culverin.
  • noun A kind of shot or shell.
  • noun In dental surg., an instrument for extracting teeth, curved at the end like the beak of a pelican.
  • noun A hook, somewhat in the shape of a pelican's bill, so arranged that it can be easily slipped by taking a ring or shackle from the point of the hook.
  • noun In heraldry, a bird with talons and beak like a bird of prey, but always represented with the wings indorsed and as bending her neck in the attitude of wounding her breast with her beak.

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

  • noun (Zoöl.) Any large webfooted bird of the genus Pelecanus, of which about a dozen species are known. They have an enormous bill, to the lower edge of which is attached a pouch in which captured fishes are temporarily stored.
  • noun (Old Chem.) A retort or still having a curved tube or tubes leading back from the head to the body for continuous condensation and redistillation.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the frigate bird. See under Frigate.
  • noun (Zoöl.) deep-sea fish (Eurypharynx pelecanoides) of the order Lyomeri, remarkable for the enormous development of the jaws, which support a large gular pouch.
  • noun (Bot.) the very large and curiously shaped blossom of a climbing plant (Aristolochia grandiflora) of the West Indies; also, the plant itself.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a large Asiatic wood ibis (Tantalus leucocephalus). The head and throat are destitute of feathers; the plumage is white, with the quills and the tail greenish black.
  • noun a representation of a pelican in the act of wounding her breast in order to nourish her young with her blood; -- a practice fabulously attributed to the bird, on account of which it was adopted as a symbol of the Redeemer, and of charity.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a marine gastropod shell of the genus Aporrhais, esp. Aporrhais pes-pelicani of Europe.

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

  • noun Any of various seabirds of the family Pelecanidae, having a long bill with a distendable pouch.
  • noun A native or resident of the American state of Louisiana.

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

  • noun large long-winged warm-water seabird having a large bill with a distensible pouch for fish


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

[Middle English, from Old English pellican and from Old French pelican, both from Late Latin pelicānus, from Greek pelekan.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English pellicane, from Latin pelecānus, from Ancient Greek πελεκάν (pelekan).



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