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[nahyt-hawk] /ˈnaɪtˌhɔk/
any of several longwinged, American goatsuckers of the genus Chordeiles, related to the whippoorwill, especially C. minor, having variegated black, white, and buff plumage.
the European goatsucker or nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus.
Informal. a person who is habitually up or moving about late at night; night owl.
Origin of nighthawk
First recorded in 1605-15; night + hawk1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for night-hawk
Historical Examples
  • Then they stagger off to seek a lonely car or a night-hawk taxi.


    Christopher Morley
  • As she spoke a night-hawk passed with a shriek, and the evening star was hid with a cloud.

    Saronia Richard Short
  • It guides their enemies—the night-hawk and the “whip-poor-will”, the bat, and the owl.

    The Rifle Rangers Captain Mayne Reid
  • And the owl, and the night-hawk, and the cuckoo, and the hawk after his kind.

    Bible Animals; J. G. Wood
  • A night-hawk swooped past the window with a startling whirr of wings.

    Copper Coleson's Ghost Edward P. Hendrick
  • There goes a night-hawk, flitting by in the darkness like a ghost.

    The Romance of the Woods F. J. Whishaw
  • The cry of a night-hawk came, as if in answer; the hoot of an owl, as if in mockery.

  • But to him it is bitter that it is only seen by the newt, and the beetle, and the night-hawk.

    Folle-Farine Ouida
  • As if in answer to his cry a night-hawk hooted among the rocks.

  • Irene was the night-hawk, and I was the writhing mouse that fed its appetite.

    The Wanderer's Necklace H. Rider Haggard
British Dictionary definitions for night-hawk


Also called bullbat, mosquito hawk. any American nightjar of the genus Chordeiles and related genera, having a dark plumage and, in the male, white patches on the wings and tail
(informal) another name for night owl
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
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Word Origin and History for night-hawk

from 1610s in reference to various birds, from night + hawk (n.). Figurative sense of "one who stays up and is active at night" is from 1818.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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