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  1. eider duck.
  2. eiderdown.

Origin of eider

1735–45; < Icelandic æthar (in 18th century spelled ædar), genitive singular of æthur eider duck, in phrase ædar dūnn down of the eider duck; spelling eider < German or Swedish
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for eider

Historical Examples

  • Then I bought a square Lapp cap, the top filled with eider down.

    The Land of the Long Night

    Paul du Chaillu

  • There, he is in place—an eagle in a nest lined with down, soft as eider.

  • The rudder was nothing much, but it was well that it held to the Eider.

    The Riddle of the Sands

    Erskine Childers

  • And there was no need, because my taking the Eider explained it.'

    The Riddle of the Sands

    Erskine Childers

  • That passage to the Schleswig coast—the Eider River, did you say?

    The Riddle of the Sands

    Erskine Childers

British Dictionary definitions for eider


eider duck

  1. any of several sea ducks of the genus Somateria, esp S. mollissima, and related genera, which occur in the N hemisphere. The male has black and white plumage, and the female is the source of eiderdown

Word Origin

C18: from Old Norse æthr; related to Swedish ejder, Dutch, German Eider
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for eider


1743, from German Eider or Dutch eider, both from Old Norse æþar, genitive of æþr "duck," from a North Germanic root.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper