gyrfalcon

[jur-fawl-kuh n, -fal-, -faw-kuh n]
noun
  1. a large falcon, Falco rusticolus, of arctic and subarctic regions, having white, gray, or blackish color phases: now greatly reduced in number.
Also gerfalcon.

Origin of gyrfalcon

1300–50; Middle English gerfaucon, jerfacoun < Middle French, Old French, equivalent to ger- (perhaps < Old High German giri greedy) + faucon falcon; compare Old Norse geirfalki
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British Dictionary definitions for gyrfalcon

gyrfalcon

gerfalcon

noun
  1. a very large rare falcon, Falco rusticolus, of northern and arctic regions: often used for hunting

Word Origin for gyrfalcon

C14: from Old French gerfaucon, perhaps from Old Norse geirfalki, from geirr spear + falki falcon
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 gyrfalcon
n.

also gerfalcon, c.1200, from Old French girfauc "large northern falcon," probably from Frankish, from Proto-Germanic *ger (cf. Old High German gir "vulture") + Latin falco "hawk" (see falcon). Folk etymology connects it with Latin gyrus (see gyre) in reference to "circling" in the air.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper