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storm petrel

or storm-pet·rel

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noun
  1. any of several small, tube-nosed seabirds of the family Hydrobatidae, usually having black or sooty-brown plumage with a white rump.
Compare stormy petrel.

Origin of storm petrel

First recorded in 1795–1805
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for storm petrel

Historical Examples

  • Like the puffin and the storm-petrel, razor-bills rarely leave the sea except for breeding.

    The Isles of Scilly

    Jessie Mothersole


British Dictionary definitions for storm petrel

storm petrel

noun
  1. any small petrel, such as the northern Hydrobates pelagicus, of the family Hydrobatidae, typically having a dark plumage with paler underpartsAlso called: Mother Carey's chicken, stormy petrel

Word Origin

C19: so named because it was thought to be a harbinger of rough weather
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