• synonyms


noun, plural mer·gan·sers, (especially collectively) mer·gan·ser.
  1. any of several fish-eating diving ducks of the subfamily Merginae, having a narrow bill hooked at the tip and serrated at the edges.
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Origin of merganser

1745–55; < New Latin, equivalent to Latin merg(us) diver, a kind of water bird + ānser goose
Also called fish duck.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for merganser

Historical Examples

  • A name for the goosander (Mergus merganser) in immature plumage.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • "Well—it's called a merganser in the books," said Mr. Kincaid.

    The Adventures of Bobby Orde

    Stewart Edward White

  • The Merganser is a regular visitor, in winter, to our coasts and inland lakes.

    Reptiles and Birds

    Louis Figuier

  • For all the splendor of his plumage, the merganser was not conspicuous where he sat.

    Hoof and Claw

    Charles G. D. Roberts

  • This evidently refers to the Goosander, which as he says in another place most answers to the Merganser.

British Dictionary definitions for merganser


noun plural -sers or -ser
  1. any of several typically crested large marine diving ducks of the genus Mergus, having a long slender hooked bill with serrated edgesAlso called: sawbill See also goosander
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Word Origin

C18: from New Latin, from Latin mergus waterfowl, from mergere to plunge + anser goose
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 merganser


type of duck, 1752, coined in Modern Latin (1550s), from Latin mergus "waterfowl, diver" (from mergere "to dip, immerse;" see merge (v.)) + anser "goose" (see goose (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper