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Wrens

[renz]
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noun (used with a singular or plural verb) Chiefly British Informal.
  1. the Women's Royal Naval Service: established in 1917 as an auxiliary to the Royal Navy.
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Origin of Wrens

pronounced form of the initial letters, with placement of vowel suggested by wren

wren

[ren]
noun
  1. any of numerous small, active songbirds of the family Troglodytidae, especially Troglodytes troglodytes, of the Northern Hemisphere, having dark-brown plumage barred with black and a short, upright tail.Compare house wren, marsh wren, rock wren, winter wren.
  2. any of various similar, unrelated birds, especially any of several Old World warblers.
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Origin of wren

before 900; Middle English wrenn(e), Old English wrenna, obscurely akin to Old High German wrendilo, Old Norse rindill

Wren1

[ren]
noun (sometimes lowercase) Chiefly British Informal.
  1. a member of the Wrens.
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Origin of Wren1

First recorded in 1915–20

Wren2

[ren]
noun
  1. Sir Christopher,1632–1723, English architect.
  2. Percival Christopher,1885–1941, English novelist.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wrens

Historical Examples

  • Wrens and sparrows are not too ignoble a quarry for this villainous gos-hawk!

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • In fact, he wrote almost as much about the habits of trout as about wrens.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • On his last morning he sought and found her beside the sun-dial in the wrens' garden.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • Jan went out into the Wrens' garden and through Anthony's gate.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • The wrens were not afraid, but they were so small he could not hit them.


British Dictionary definitions for wrens

wren

noun
  1. any small brown passerine songbird of the chiefly American family Troglodytidae, esp Troglodytes troglodytes (wren in Britain, winter wren in the US and Canada). They have a slender bill and feed on insects
  2. any of various similar birds of the families Muscicapidae (Australian warblers), Xenicidae (New Zealand wrens), etc
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Word Origin

Old English wrenna, werna; related to Old High German wrendo, rentilo, Old Norse rindill

Wren1

noun
  1. history informal (in Britain and certain other nations) a member of the former Women's Royal Naval Service
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Word Origin

C20: from the abbreviation WRNS

Wren2

noun
  1. Sir Christopher. 1632–1723, English architect. He designed St Paul's Cathedral and over 50 other London churches after the Great Fire as well as many secular buildings
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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

Word Origin and History for wrens

wren

n.

Old English wrenna, metathesis variation of earlier werna, a West Germanic word of uncertain origin. Cf. Icelandic rindill, Old High German wrendo, wrendilo "wren." The bird's name in other languages usually denotes "royalty" (cf. Latin regulus), in reference to its golden crest.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper