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  1. any large, web-footed, seabird of the family Sulidae, having a sharply pointed bill, long wings, and a wedge-shaped tail, noted for its plunging dives for fish.

Origin of gannet

before 900; Middle English; Old English ganot; akin to Dutch gent gander
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gannet

Historical Examples

  • Csar was gitting as straight as a crowbar and as grim as a gannet.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • This forenoon we saw a gannet, a sand-lark, and some water-snakes, which in general were from two to three feet long.

  • The Gannet took two or three more prizes, and sent them into Jamaica.

    True Blue

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • She exchanged colours with the brig, and proved to be the Gannet.

    True Blue

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • The first soon made her number, and left no doubt as to her being the Gannet.

    True Blue

    W.H.G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for gannet


  1. any of several heavily built marine birds of the genus Morus (or Sula), having a long stout bill and typically white plumage with dark markings: family Sulidae, order Pelecaniformes (pelicans, cormorants, etc)See also booby (def. 3)
  2. slang a gluttonous or greedy person

Word Origin

Old English ganot; related to Old High German gannazzo gander
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 gannet


Old English ganot "gannet, sea-bird, water fowl," from Proto-Germanic *ganito (cf. Dutch gent, Middle High German ganiz, Old High German ganazzo), from PIE *ghans- (see goose). Old French gante is from Germanic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper