common tern


noun

See under tern1.

Nearby words

  1. common situs picketing,
  2. common snipe,
  3. common stock,
  4. common sulfur,
  5. common tannin,
  6. common time,
  7. common topaz,
  8. common touch,
  9. common touch, the,
  10. common variable immunodeficiency

tern

1
[ turn ]
/ tɜrn /

noun

any of numerous aquatic birds of the subfamily Sterninae of the family Laridae, related to the gulls but usually having a more slender body and bill, smaller feet, a long, deeply forked tail, and a more graceful flight, especially those of the genus Sterna, as S. hirundo (common tern), of Eurasia and America, having white, black, and gray plumage.

Origin of tern

1
1670–80; < Danish terne or Norwegian terna; cognate with Old Norse therna

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for common tern

tern

1
/ (tɜːn) /

noun

any aquatic bird of the subfamily Sterninae, having a forked tail, long narrow wings, a pointed bill, and a typically black-and-white plumage: family Laridae (gulls, etc), order Charadriiformes

Word Origin for tern

C18: from Old Norse therna; related to Norwegian terna, Swedish tärna

tern

2
/ (tɜːn) /

noun

a three-masted schooner
rare a group of three

Word Origin for tern

C14: from Old French terne, from Italian terno, from Latin ternī three each; related to Latin ter thrice, trēs three

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 common tern

tern

n.

gull-like shore bird (subfamily Sterninae), 1670s, via East Anglian dialect, from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish terne, Swedish tärna, Færoese terna) related to Old Norse þerna "tern," cognate with Old English stearn "starling."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper