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sheldrake

[shel-dreyk]
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noun, plural shel·drakes, (especially collectively) shel·drake.
  1. any of several Old World ducks of the genus Tadorna, certain species of which have highly variegated plumage.
  2. any of various other ducks, especially the goosander or merganser.

Origin of sheldrake

1275–1325; Middle English sheldedrake, equivalent to sheld particolored + drake drake1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sheldrake

Historical Examples

  • The down in the nest of the Sheldrake is a beautiful lavender-gray.

    British Sea Birds

    Charles Dixon

  • The breeding season of the Sheldrake begins in April or May.

    British Sea Birds

    Charles Dixon

  • Mr. Sheldrake coughed, and the policeman coughed in sympathy.

    London's Heart

    B. L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon

  • Ready of speech and smooth of manner was Mr. Sheldrake as he addressed Lily.

    London's Heart

    B. L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon

  • She did not see him; all her attention was fixed upon Mr. Sheldrake's words.

    London's Heart

    B. L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon


Word Origin and History for sheldrake

n.

early 14c., from sheld- "variegated" + drake "male duck." First element cognate with Middle Dutch schillede "separated, variegated," West Flemish schilde, from schillen (Dutch verschillen "to make different"), from Proto-Germanic *skeli-, from PIE root *(s)kel- (1) "to cut" (see scale (n.1)). This is the origin considered most likely, though English sheld by itself is a dialect word attested only from c.1500. OED finds derivation from shield (n.), on resemblance to the patterns on shields, "improbable."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper