an American plover, Charadrius vociferus, having two black bands around the upper breast.

Origin of killdeer

An Americanism dating back to 1725–35; imitative
Also called killdeer plover. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for killdeer

Historical Examples of killdeer

  • All along, the killdeer were darting about, calling loudly and piercingly.

  • A killdeer sweeping the lake close two o'clock one morning awakened him.

    The Harvester

    Gene Stratton Porter

  • The Killdeer is so called on account of the cry which it utters; it resembles "kill-dee, kill-dee."

    Endurance Test

    Alan Douglas

  • The scout seized "Killdeer" in his left hand, and elevating it above his head, he shook it in triumph at his enemies.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The killdeer plovers are as noisy in the park as they are in an eastern pasture-field, and almost as plentiful.

    Birds of the Rockies

    Leander Sylvester Keyser

British Dictionary definitions for killdeer


noun plural -deer or -deers

a large brown-and-white North American plover, Charadrius vociferus, with two black breast bands and a noisy cry

Word Origin for killdeer

C18: of imitative origin
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 killdeer

also killdee, 1731, American English, species of North American ring-plover, the name imitative of its cry.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper