- any of several shorebirds of the genus Numenius, having a long, slender, downcurved bill, as the common N. arquata, of Europe.
- any of various similar birds.
Origin of curlew
Examples from the Web for curlew
At that instant the curlew shot over her head with its deep, mournful cry.A Son of Hagar
Sir Hall Caine
"The Curlew" dashed forward, rising and falling with the swells.
It was at once set; and "The Curlew" started on in the wake of the shower.
It ain't as if 'The Curlew' was loaded down, and lay low in the water.
Then silence again, save for the long-drawn wail of a curlew.The Call Of The South
- any large shore bird of the genus Numenius, such as N. arquata of Europe and Asia: family Scolopacidae (sandpipers, etc), order Charadriiformes. They have a long downward-curving bill and occur in northern and arctic regionsCompare stone curlew
Word Origin and History for curlew
mid-14c., from Old French courlieu (13c., Modern French courlis), said to be imitative of the bird's cry but apparently assimilated with corliu "runner, messenger," from corre "to run" (see current (adj.)). The bird is a good runner.