Definitions

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

  • n. A small hawk (Accipter nisus) of Europe, Africa, and central Asia that has short, broad wings and preys on sparrows and other small birds.
  • n. A small North American falcon (Falco sparverius) that hovers over fields and pastures, feeding chiefly on insects and mice. Also called American kestrel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A species of small falcon, Falco sparverius, that preys on grasshoppers and small mammals.
  • n. A small, short-winged European hawk, Accipiter nisus, that preys on smaller birds.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The Australian collared sparrow hawk (Accipiter torquatus).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One of several small hawks which prey on sparrows and other small birds.
  • n. In silver-working, a small anvil with two horns (one flat-sided and pyramidal, the other conical in form), held between the knees of the workman, for use in flanging, making bezels, etc.

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

  • n. small North American falcon
  • n. small hawk of Eurasia and northern Africa

Etymologies

From Middle English sparhauk, sperhauk, from Old English spearhafoc, spearhabuc ("sparrow-hawk"), equivalent to sparrow +‎ hawk. Cognate with Danish spurvehøg ("sparrowhawk"), Swedish sparvhök ("sparrowhawk"), Icelandic sparrhaukur ("sparrowhawk"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Then he made at Sahim and struck at him with his tree, but Sahim avoided the blow and it fell harmless; whereat Sa’adan was wroth and throwing down the weapon, sprang upon Sahim and caught him in his pounces as the sparrow hawk catcheth up the sparrow.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

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