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sheldrake

[shel-dreyk] /ˈʃɛlˌdreɪk/
noun, plural sheldrakes (especially collectively) sheldrake.
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
1275-1325; Middle English sheldedrake, equivalent to sheld particolored + drake drake1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sheldrake
Historical Examples
  • The breeding season of the sheldrake begins in April or May.

    British Sea Birds Charles Dixon
  • The down in the nest of the sheldrake is a beautiful lavender-gray.

    British Sea Birds Charles Dixon
  • Ready of speech and smooth of manner was Mr. sheldrake as he addressed Lily.

    London's Heart B. L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon
  • Mr. sheldrake coughed, and the policeman coughed in sympathy.

    London's Heart B. L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon
  • Not that the career of Mr. sheldrake presented any such contradiction.

    London's Heart B. L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon
  • Or was it from Mr. sheldrake himself, reminding him of his obligation to that gentleman?

    London's Heart B. L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon
  • "I brought her," replied Mr. sheldrake with a pleasant chuckle.

    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
  • Lily held out her hand, and Mr. sheldrake pressed it tenderly.

    London's Heart B. L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon
  • He did not know, of course, what had passed between Lily and Mr. sheldrake.

    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
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