any of several usually black-and-white diving birds of the family Alcidae, of northern seas, having webbed feet and small wings.

Origin of auk

1665–75; < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse alka Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for auk

Historical Examples of auk

  • Oolichuk continued this process until the first auk was finished.

    The Giant of the North

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • Upon the whole, I thought it would not do to depend upon the auk.

    The Land of Thor

    J. Ross Browne

  • But there was a deplorable lack of information about the haunts and habits of the auk.

    The Land of Thor

    J. Ross Browne

  • Auk, is a term, in compound words of these dialects, denoting wood.

    The Indian in his Wigwam

    Henry R. Schoolcraft

  • Of all the Auk tribe, so far as my experience goes, the Puffin flies the most.

    British Sea Birds

    Charles Dixon

British Dictionary definitions for auk



any of various diving birds of the family Alcidae of northern oceans having a heavy body, short tail, narrow wings, and a black-and-white plumage: order CharadriiformesSee also great auk, razorbill auk
little auk or dovekie a small short-billed auk, Plautus alle, abundant in Arctic regions

Word Origin for auk

C17: from Old Norse ālka; related to Swedish alka, Danish alke
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 auk

1670s, from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse alka, probably originally imitative of a water-bird cry (cf. Latin olor "swan," Greek elea "marsh bird").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper