a large Old World plover, Vanellus vanellus, having a long, slender, upcurved crest, an erratic, flapping flight, and a shrill cry.
any of several similar, related plovers.

Origin of lapwing

before 1050; Middle English, variant (by association with wing) of lapwinke, Old English hlēapwince plover. See leap, wink1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lapwing

Historical Examples of lapwing

  • "Wait a minute—only a minute," she said, and tripped off with the swift glide of a lapwing.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • Then the Crow flew away and the Lapwing went on complaining.

  • It is as nervous about the site of its nest as a lapwing is.

  • We had not heard from brother Jack since he went aboard the Lapwing.

    Peter Trawl

    W. H. G. Kingston

  • The name of the Lapwing aroused me; she was the brig in which my brother Jack had gone to sea.

    Peter Trawl

    W. H. G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for lapwing



any of several plovers of the genus Vanellus, esp V. vanellus, typically having a crested head, wattles, and spursAlso called: green plover, pewit, peewit

Word Origin for lapwing

C17: altered form of Old English hlēapewince plover, from hlēapan to leap + wincian to jerk, wink 1
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 lapwing

Middle English lappewinke (late 14c.), lapwyngis (early 15c.), folk etymology alteration of Old English hleapewince, probably literally "leaper-winker," from hleapan "to leap" + wince "totter, waver, move rapidly," related to wincian "to wink." Said to be so called from "the manner of its flight" [OED] "in reference to its irregular flapping manner of flight" [Barnhart], but the lapwing also flaps on the ground pretending to have a broken wing to lure egg-hunters away from its nest, which seems a more logical explanation. Its Greek name was polyplagktos "luring on deceitfully."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper