[her-uh n]
  1. any of numerous long-legged, long-necked, usually long-billed birds of the family Ardeidae, including the true herons, egrets, night herons, and bitterns.

Origin of heron

1275–1325; Middle English heiro(u)n, hero(u)n < Middle French hairon (French héron) < Germanic; compare Old High German heigir


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for heron

Contemporary Examples of heron

Historical Examples of heron

  • Madam,—The letter you wrote me to Heron's carried its own answer.

  • The Heron of Louisiana is not in the least different from that of Europe.

    The History of Louisiana

    Le Page Du Pratz

  • Lazy and indifferent the heron returns; the sky veils her stars; then bares them.

    Monday or Tuesday

    Virginia Woolf

  • I heard at the station that a lady and gentleman had gone to the Hawk and Heron.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • "Yes, sergeant—Drayton, of the Hawk and Heron," said the porter.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for heron


  1. any of various wading birds of the genera Butorides, Ardea, etc, having a long neck, slim body, and a plumage that is commonly grey or white: family Ardeidae, order Ciconiiformes

Word Origin for heron

C14: from Old French hairon, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German heigaro, Old Norse hegri


  1. same as Hero
  2. Patrick. 1920–99, British abstract painter and art critic
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 heron

c.1300, from Old French hairon (12c.), earlier hairo (11c., Modern French héron), from Frankish *haigiro or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *hraigran- (cf. Old High German heigaro "heron," German Reiher, Dutch reiger, Old Norse hegri), from PIE *qriq-, perhaps imitative of its cry (cf. Old Church Slavonic kriku "cry, scream," Lithuanian kryksti "to shriek"). Old English cognate hraga did not survive into Middle English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper