- any of several terns, especially Sterna hirundo.
- British Dialect. any of several small petrels, especially the storm petrel, Hydrobates pelagicus.
Origin of sea swallow
First recorded in 1590–1600
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for sea swallow
A name on our northern coasts for the Sterna hirundo, the tern, or sea-swallow.The Sailor's Word-Book
William Henry Smyth
The Italians compare it with the sea-swallow, which is a gull.Love's Meinie
The sea-swallow is said to get his food in a very singular way.The Book of Curiosities
The sea-swallow shot past him, too, with its low mournful cry.She's All the World to Me
The sea-swallow shot over him too, with its low, mournful cry.The Deemster
- a popular name for tern 1
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