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[sheer-waw-ter, -wot-er] /ˈʃɪərˌwɔ tər, -ˌwɒt ər/
any of several long-winged petrels of the genus Puffinus that appear to shear the water with their wing tips when flying low.
Origin of shearwater
First recorded in 1665-75; shear + water Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for shearwater
Historical Examples
  • Coultas (field notes) gives an interesting account of nesting activities of this shearwater at the Palau Islands.

  • The upper parts of this shearwater are black, the lower parts white.

    British Sea Birds Charles Dixon
British Dictionary definitions for shearwater


any of several oceanic birds of the genera Puffinus, such as P. puffinus (Manx shearwater), Procellaria, etc, specialized for an aerial or aquatic existence: family Procellariidae, order Procellariiformes (petrels)
Word Origin
C17: so named because their wings seem to clip the waves when they are flying low
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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